New Castle News

Police Reports

October 4, 2013

Updated: Fire destroys South Side duplex

NEW CASTLE — A fire of suspicious origin destroyed a vacant duplex on New Castle’s South Side Thursday morning.

The New Castle fire department received the call for a blaze at 1504 Hamilton St. at 4:30 a.m. and crews were on the scene for nearly six hours.

According to department officials, a neighbor saw three young males enter the structure around 4 a.m. Both electrical power and gas had been turned off, according to the fire department. City police are investigating.

When firefighters arrived, the structure was fully involved. Although nobody lives in the house, the duplex was filled with bags containing all sorts of items such as those found at yard or garage sales, assistant chief David Joseph said.

The bags were piled up to about eye level, he said, hindering firefighters’ ability to battle the blaze. He said when firefighters tried to go inside they “could only get in a couple of feet.”

The duplex was used for storage, he said.

Vacant lots are on both sides of the building, so no other houses were threatened. However, some trees next to the house caught fire.

Joseph said the chimney collapsed and put a hole in one of the department’s hoses.

The county assessor’s office said the duplex is owned by Delmar and Violet Probst.

Damage to the structure was estimated at $20,000.

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