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NEW CASTLE Reward offered in arson



Published: Thu, August 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Anyone with information should contact the city police or fire department.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- City officials are hoping a cash reward will help stop a firebug.

They are offering $2,500 to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of any person linked with a string of fires on the city's east side and two recent fires near the city high school.

"I think it's time we find out who is doing this, and we are hoping the community will support us," said Mayor Timothy Fulkerson. "If somebody knows who is doing this, hopefully this reward will bring them to us."

Keeping watch: Fire fighters started patrolling the city's east side in June after four suspicious fires in a three-block radius.

Fire Chief James Donston had said they were hoping to deter any future fires and catch the person responsible. So far there haven't been any additional fires in that area, but no arrests have been made, either.

Then a second set of suspicious fires started in the morning of July 26 near the city high school.

Two vacant school district-owned homes went up in flames within minutes of each other.

The two homes and about 13 others have been vacant for about a year and were to be demolished. A new city high school will be built in their place.

All of the fires are considered arson.

Injury worries: Mayor Fulkerson said he's concerned that any more fires could lead to someone's getting hurt.

"We've been very fortunate. This has been a hot, dry summer. We haven't had any firefighters injured or someone from the public in those homes or nearby homes get hurt. I figure we've got to stop this before it escalates ...," he said.

Anyone with information about the fires should contact the New Castle Fire Department at (724) 656-3567 or the New Castle Police Department at (724) 656-3588.

cioffi@vindy.com




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