By Brenda Waters

MCKEESPORT (KDKA) — Some residents in McKeesport are on edge as authorities investigate the cause of a late night fire that damaged three homes.

The flames broke just before 11 p.m. in the 2500-block of Stewart Street.

It’s just the latest in a string of recent fires. For several weeks, vacant houses have been going up in flames.

This latest fire caused severe damage to two vacant homes on Stewart Street. But the heat was so intense, it also melted the front siding on a house around the corner on Packer Street.

Neighbors say they are worried.

“What’s going on in the area? Why? Why you gotta set fires; you have nothing else better to do,” said Dana Odenthal, a neighbor. “You’re risking people’s lives just to see a flame.”

In May, some vacant homes along East Street also caught fire.

“It’s crazy. This has been like the fifth fire in three, six months,” added Shae Patterson, another neighbor. “Somebody [has to] take the blame.”

No injuries have been reported in any of the fires.

They are being investigated by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal.

In a news release from the McKeesport Police, Chief Bryan Washowich says: “All indications, through investigative efforts, reveal that these fires are not being ignited by the same person(s). It is the Departments belief that these fires are the result of at risk youth who are entering these vacant homes and engaging in criminal behavior.”

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