SHARON, Pa. (KDKA) — There’s growing concern in the City of Sharon, in Mercer County, after a rash of suspicious fires.
Police say there have been at least 18 fires deliberately set, mostly in a section of the city known as the West Hill neighborhood.
Marissa Puhac, her husband and their 3-year-old daughter live in the residential neighborhood where many of the fires have become a recurring nightmare.
“It’s very scary,” Puhac said. “You don’t know which house is going to burn next.”
She said her daughter, Kloe, “was looking out the window because we heard sirens one night. She looked out and said, ‘Mommy, the sun was coming up.’ But, it was 2 a.m., I knew the sun wasn’t coming up. It was a house on fire.”
The neighborhood has been left scarred by the numerous fires in the vacant homes and buildings.
Darrell Wicks said he grew up on Pittsburgh’s North Side. He thinks it might not be a bad idea for the city of Sharon to tear down some of the abandoned houses, or at least board them up.
Pointing down the street, Wicks said, “That gray house is occupied, but the next one is vacant, the next one after that is vacant, and the next one burned down.”
A two-story house on Madison Street is no longer habitable. The homeowner was living with a relative at the time of the fire.
Brian Comninos lives across the street and called the fire department when he saw the flames.
“I heard a crackling, a loud crackling. I had the windows open, I looked out across the street and the porch was on fire,” Comninos said.
There’s been no arrest in the rash of fires in Sharon.
At a Thursday morning press conference at city hall, police and fire officials urged the public to help find the person or people responsible.
Watch Paul Martino’s report:
“Every fire, it increases the chance of someone getting seriously hurt,” Sharon Fire Department Chief Bob Fiscus said. “Or someone getting killed, especially the firefighters that are going into the fire.”
“If you see something in your neighborhood that’s out of the ordinary — a person that doesn’t belong there, a vehicle that doesn’t belong there — we’re asking that you take a picture of that vehicle. Take some video of what you see,” Sharon Police Chief Gerald Smith said.
Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that can lead to an arrest.