Fire investigators have no leads so far in a rash of arsons on the city’s East Side.
By ANGIE SCHMITT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN — Three fires that occurred on the city’s East Side this weekend are consistent with the theory that a single arsonist is operating in the area, according to fire officials.
Firefighters battled blazes at vacant properties on Hawn Street, South Pearl Street and Lincoln Park Drive on Saturday and Sunday. No one was injured in the three fires, each originating under suspicious circumstances, said Capt. Alvin Ware, commander of the Youngstown Fire Department’s arson bureau.
The proximity of the fires could indicate the work of a single arsonist, Ware said.
“It is possible,” he said. “Two [fire sites] are close to each other — less than a mile. These have all been right there on the East Side.”
Firefighters are offering up to $5,000 for information leading to those responsible for this weekend’s blazes. They are also seeking information about four suspected arsons that occurred in a five-hour period late Wednesday and early Thursday, also on the East Side. So far, however, the signs posted at suspected arson sites haven’t generated any tips, said Ware.
A fourth fire Saturday in a vacant North Side home caused about $1,000 in damages. It is not believed to be connected with the East Side fires, though it is also believed to be arson, Ware said.
Variety of motives
Ware said arsonists are motivated by a number of factors. They could be juveniles seeking kicks. They could be scrappers seeking easy access to valuable metals, such as copper plumbing. They could be neighbors intent on erasing blighted properties from the landscape, he said. But each fire threatens firefighters’ safety and neighbors’ property, even if the burned home is vacant, he said.
A summary of this weekend’s events:
UA single-family dwelling at 1331 Hawn Street was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene at 12:25 a.m. Saturday. Due to the advanced state of the fire, firefighters allowed the structure to burn to the ground. Damages were estimated at $6,000.
USmoke was visible from an apartment in a two-story brick triplex at 23-27 S. Pearl St. at 5:50 p.m. Sunday. Neighbors indicated that the building may be occupied; however, a search proved otherwise, according to reports from the department. Damages were estimated at $2,500.
UFire overwhelmed both stories of a vacant home at 230 Lincoln Park Drive at 2:42 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters are requesting the building be demolished in light of the damages, totaling $2,000.
ULight smoke led firefighters to a small trash fire in a bedroom at 1812 Elm St. at 6:55 p.m. Saturday. The fire was contained within the room. Damages are estimated at $1,000, reports said.
To report information about these incidents or other incidents of arson, call (330) 782-0055.