JEANNETTE (KDKA) — Another fire in Jeannette has been ruled arson.
This increases the total to 11 suspicious fires in the last four months and residents are growing concerned.
What has them even more concerned is the fact that this most recent fire was in an occupied house as opposed to an abandoned one.
Right now the big question is whether the fire was started by someone else or if the person who set the other fires is changing his or her pattern.
Paul Callas and his wife were inside their home on North Third Street in Jeannette Saturday evening when they smelled smoke and looked outside.
“Looked out the back window and saw this part of the house just blazing away,” he said. “The flames were shooting at least seven or eight feet.”
Callas allowed KDKA-TV into his backyard to see the damage to his neighbor’s home. The charred bricks show just how high the fire climbed.
“Saw the smoke going heavy over our house here and thought, ‘Oh my God – might have caught our house on fire!’ But it didn’t.”
This is the 11th arson in Jeannette in the last four months.
The previous weekend, a firefighter was rushed to a Pittsburgh hospital after being injured in a blaze in the 300-block of Chestnut Street.
Other fires have been reported on South 12th Street, Chambers Avenue and Division Street.
Police are also investigating an arson in October at the old Monsour Medical Center on Route 30.
“The investigation is proceeding like any other criminal investigation,” Jeannette Police Chief Brad Shepler said. “There have been people of interest interviewed and as new information comes in, we’ll follow up any lead we get.”
The fire marshal believes the most recent fire on North Third Street may have started after a couch on the back porch was ignited.
A different MO than the other fires, but still keeping neighbors on guard.
“I hope they catch whoever’s doing this so nothing else happens to anyone else’s house,” Jennifer Swank, a neighbor, said.
Police say the key to catching the person or persons who have been starting these fires will be vigilance in the city.
They are asking residents to keep an eye on their neighbors and their property and report any suspicious activity immediately.