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Residents scared, puzzled by weekend fires



Published: Tue, July 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



By STEPHEN SIFF

and PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WEST FARMINGTON -- Residents are puzzled, grateful and a little bit scared after a night of fires that damaged property but left no one hurt.

"I had a little trouble sleeping last night, but honestly and truly, I am grateful that I still have my home, I still have myself and that no one in the village was hurt," said Deidree Bailey, who was not at home when arsonists set her porch furniture on fire.

It was one of nine arsons in a two-block area early Saturday, officials say.

Investigators from the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department and the state fire marshal's office have been interviewing people. Detectives say they have "strong suspects." Sheriff Thomas Altiere said he is hoping the matter will be resolved soon.

"I'm shocked that it happened," Bailey said. "We are basically good people. I have no clue why they would try this stuff. No clue."

Pauline Kurtz, owner of Pebbie's Country Store, said she could think of no reason why the building that houses her business and apartments occupied by two families would have been targeted.

"I don't feel they were going after us," Kurtz said. "They were just lighting fires in the area, and they need to be caught."

She credits Farmington Volunteer Fire Department for responding quickly. "They did a wonderful job. Thank God they did what they did. People could have been killed."

Sue Price, who lives across the street from Pebbie's, is scared.

"This is a small town where I felt safe. I don't feel so safe anymore," she said of the village of some 500 people in northwest Trumbull County, just east of the Geauga County line.

Price said she woke up a little after 2 a.m. and saw huge flames coming from the store. She called 911.

"By the time my husband got out there, we could see another fire," Price said. "It was scary because I kept thinking my house was going to get hit."




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