NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating after several empty homes and a building that used to house a business recently went up in flames in Lawrence County.

Now, many of the residents in the Union Township community where it’s happening fear there is a fire bug among them.

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A vacant, two-story home on the west side of the city of New Castle was destroyed by fire Wednesday evening.

The home was in the 800-block of Fulkerson Street, in the same general area where there have been other recent fires in empty structures and houses.

Assistant New Castle Fire Chief Michael Petron said flames were on both floors of the building when the first engine arrived, and then fire spread through the roof.

Petrone said the house eventually collapsed, but no one was hurt.

The fire marshal was contacted to investigate.

Nachelle Owens, who lives nearby, said she was in the kitchen of her house and her daughter and two grandchildren were in the backyard feeding birds when the fire broke out.

She said, “All of a sudden, we saw flames shooting out of the house in the back alley near us.”

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A rash of recent fires in that area has officials on alert. They are urging people, if they see anything suspicious, to call 911 or their local police.

Pete Fennell lives next door to the recent fire on Bluff Street. He watched as the charred rubble continued to burn and smolder.

“It does, in a way, make me nervous,” said Fennell.

The house on Bluff Street caught fire around 8:30 p.m. and burned to the ground. Less than a block away, another house then went up in flames. Both were vacant.

Earlier this month, in the same block, a building vacant for more than two decades in New Castle went up in flames. Years ago, it was a grocery store.

“Less than 24 hours earlier, you have the house down the street burn,” said Fennell. “Last week, you had a building down the street burn, so that’s three fires in one week on the same block.”

Darin Lane, who lives in the neighborhood, told KDKA-TV News “It’s upsetting for us in our neighborhood. We’re good people, it shouldn’t be happening here. Three fires in one week, it’s crazy, it’s ridiculous.”

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