New castle Police seek help in probe of arsons

By jeanne starmack

new castle, pa.

City police and fire departments want help solving a rash of arsons and preventing more.

They are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrests and conviction of people responsible for the arsons. People can call the New Castle Detective Bureau at 724-656-3586.

Fire Chief Thomas Maciarello said Monday that there have been five arsons throughout the city since July 5, when two of those fires in the Courtside neighborhood destroyed two vacant homes, one on Shadyside Avenue and the other on Ray Street.

The other fires were in a vacant camera shop in an East Washington Street building July 22; a vacant house on Phillips Place on Aug. 9; and a vacant house on West Clayton Street in Mahoningtown on Friday.

“All were started in the rear of the buildings,” Maciarello said. He said that at the Phillips Place house, there was a “strong odor of fuel.”

He said that all of the sites had no power, which is why investigators determined the fires were set.

“We’re trying to get a handle on it early,” he said. “We don’t want the same pattern as before.”

Arsons destroyed 38 houses in the Courtside neighborhood in 2009.

Eight people were arrested and charged in those fires.

Police Chief Robert Salem said Monday that police do not have any reason to believe those suspects are connected to the recent fires.

He said police do not have any leads yet.

“We’re hoping that once it gets out, we get some leads,” he said, adding that firefighters could be killed fighting the arsons.

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