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NEW CASTLE Arson destroys 3 vacant houses that were slated for demolition

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Another arson was reported on Franklin Avenue.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Three vacant houses destroyed by arson were set to be demolished this week.
The Grant Street homes are owned by the Greater New Castle Development Corporation, a nonprofit group that works on economic revitalization projects in the city.
Fire Chief James Donston said someone set fire to residences at 204 and 208 Grant St. just after midnight Monday. The blaze from 208 Grant St. extended to the house next door and burned 210 Grant St.
The Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal and the district attorney's arson task force were called in to investigate, he said.
The Grant Street fires were the second set of blazes that firefighters put out over the weekend.
Donston said a vacant home at 927 Franklin Ave. caught fire at 3:15 a.m. Sunday. Fire officials also have ruled that blaze an arson.
Donston said he does not believe the Grant Street and Franklin Avenue fires are related.
City Administrator John DiMuccio said the Grant Street houses, along with a fourth one on that block that did not burn, were slated for demolition this week. The demolition crew will now clear away the fire debris, he said.
The homes were purchased and condemned to make way for a proposed professional business park.
Two doctors have already expressed interest in building offices in that area.
DiMuccio said there was no insurance on the buildings because they had been slated for demolition.
"They were scheduled to come down this week. Nobody got hurt, and that's the important part," he said.