Fire At Vacant Erie Home Ruled Arson, Latest in String of Suspicious Fires in Neighborhood
A blighted, vacant home in the city of Erie goes up in flames overnight Monday. It has been ruled an arson, and it's actually the second time this year the home has caught on fire, suspiciously.
But what's more, it looks like it's become part of a pattern in the east-Erie neighborhood.
Erie Fire fighters were called to the home along East 25th street, between Wallace and Ash streets, around midnight on Monday.
Erie Fire Inspector Mark Polanski has ruled it arson, and it's actually the second time in three months the same home has caught on fire.
Erie Fire fighters arrived Monday to heavy smoke and fire, same as they did in March of 2019.
It was a close call, but Erie fire fighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the neighboring home, “It's freighting because this is the second time this happened,” said Dennis Henderson, who lives just feet away. “It was pretty intense, it was already going through the ceiling, through the roof, and spreading toward my house, which is only a driveway away,” Henderson continued.
The home was vacant and was actually listed as uninhabitable by the city, following the fire in March.
Neighbors say this is part of a pattern, as it’s the latest in at least three other arsons at abandoned homes in the area, in the past several years, “It's frustrating that somebody's setting these fires, this is probably the fifth house on this block in the last two years, abandoned house, that caught on fire,” said Henderson.
Wayne Turner of Erie spotted the fire on Monday, called 911, and pounded on his neighbor’s door to alert him that the home next door was up in flames, “I think we have an arsonist somewhere in the neighborhood somewhere, because this isn't normal, there’s someone going in these houses and doing this,” said Turner.
Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone says fires in old vacant structures are some of the most dangerous for fire fighters to tackle.
So the fact that this recent fire is the latest in a string in this neighborhood, is not lost on investigators, “Any time we have a number of fires in a general area we look to see if there's any kind of connection what-so-ever, and then we put all the pieces together and then hopefully we can bring somebody to justice.”
Erie police and fire investigators are working together on the case.