New Castle News

TOP STORIES

December 13, 2012

Tent City fire forces homeless migration

NEW CASTLE — About 10 homeless men have scattered from Tent City after their campsite went up in flames.

Angela Hagberg of Patches Place, a local mental health agency that reaches out to the homeless, said the fire occurred Friday afternoon or evening at the fenced-in encampment behind Cascade Galleria.

She said the men who had lived in Tent City told her a man had dumped kerosene over all their donated belongings — tents, mattresses, pillows, blankets, clothing, food and other items — and set fire to them.

Recent publicity about the outdoor homeless refuge had prompted generous contributions of goods and supplies from the community, Hagberg said.

“We started getting all of these really great donations,” she said, including truckloads of wood the men would use for campfires to keep warm.

Among the donations was a kerosene heater.

“A guy went back there and poured the kerosene from the heater onto everything the men owned,” Hagberg said. “The guys there think they know who did it, but they don’t know why.”

She said the suspected arsonist is someone who did not live in the encampment, and she does not know his identity. She said the New Castle police were contacted Friday night to investigate.

“There is a suspect,” Police Chief Bobby Salem said, but no charges have been filed. He said the investigation is ongoing.

On Saturday, Patches Place representatives took a tent that sleeps eight to 10 people to Tent City replace some of those that had burned. It also donated a couple of mattresses and blankets it had in reserve.

Meanwhile, Hagberg arranged for a couple of the men to stay elsewhere.

“Some of them are afraid to stay there now,” she said, “and they are afraid to take their newly donated belongings there because they fear it will happen again.”

The men staying in one area had a tent they had used to store all their donated items and food. That, too, is gone.

“There’s nothing left,” Hagberg said. “Everything is destroyed.”

Patches Place had managed to get some of the people out of Tent City in the weeks before the fire because cold weather was setting in, Hagberg said.

Those people are in Section 8 housing, the City Rescue Mission, an independent apartment and a Human Services Center-owned residence, she said.

But Hagberg noted about five homeless men are staying in different areas of the downtown since the fire.

“One guy stays by the church by Burger King but keeps getting arrested,” she said. “Other people stay in the streets around town.”

Kevin Green, City Rescue Mission director, declined comment Wednesday about any accommodations available at his 100-bed shelter for the displaced campers.

Patches Place is continuing its mission to help the homeless, providing tents, bedding, shelter, firewood, food and other items.

Hagberg said that Ron Howard, one of the displaced campers, expressed his appreciation to the community for the items the homeless inhabitants have received through contributions.

Donations are being accepted at the Highland Avenue agency by calling Hagberg at (724) 657-0226, extension 401, during the day.

Hagberg stressed Patches Place does not accept — and has never accepted — cigarettes or alcohol as contributions.

Acceptable donations include sanitary wipes, cots, tents, blankets, pillows, sheets, tarps, meals, meal kits, canned and packaged and ready-to-eat food, bottled water and other non-alcoholic beverages, firewood, men’s clothing in sizes large, extra-large or bigger, and shoes.

Hagberg also recommended people not try to visit Tent City on their own with donations, for safety reasons.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • Barletto.jpg Emotional Closure: Woman sentenced in Jerry McCarthy’s death

    The driver of the car that killed a Shenango Township policeman is heading to prison. Kylee Gwen Barletto, 26, apologized Wednesday to the family of William J. “Jerry” McCarthy and to her family after pleading guilty to eight of 16 charges against her.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Fire marshal probes cause of blaze

    A city police fire marshal said he hasn’t ruled yet on a blaze that ravaged two Taylor Street houses. Chris Fabian, who was at the fire scene for the duration Monday morning, said the blaze that displaced three families started in the back of a yellow, two-story duplex at 602 Taylor St.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action on quakes

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Crowds of anglers still turned out for opening day of trout season

    Saturday morning marked the beginning of the Pennsylvania trout season. Locally, many anglers took to the county’s rivers and streams, eager to get started. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocked lakes and streams with 3.2 million adult brook, brown and rainbow trout.

    April 14, 2014 9 Photos

  • S_Levar1.jpg Levar Ware’s Story, Part 2: After getting his life back on track, senior ready to tackle college next

    Second of two parts: Even when Levar Ware was at his lowest, people recognized the quality of his character.  Some, like Andy Tommelleo, former director of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, went the extra mile because of it.
     

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • F_Levar1.jpg Levar Ware’s Story, Part 1: ’Canes’ senior finally found his way after enduring difficult living conditions in West Virginia

    First of two parts: His infectious smile can light up a room, but five years ago, Levar Ware was living in darkness. Except for his mother, concerned educators and a local attorney, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior who helped New Castle High capture its first state basketball title last month might not even have been on the team.

    April 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • money.jpg Settlement reached in City Rescue Mission lawsuit

    A lawsuit filed against the City Rescue Mission by a vision-impaired man has been settled. The case’s settlement was reported in a filing on the U.S. District Court docket Tuesday.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents want repairs to bridge

    Guardrails are expected to be installed on a Pulaski Township culvert bridge by week’s end because of residents’ safety concerns. The township-owned bridge is on Maple Lane, just west of Hilcorp Energy Co.’s Artman wellpad.

    April 10, 2014

  • N1306P46011C.TIF Agreement reached to restore Cascade Park pool

    United Way of Lawrence County will soon embark on its goal to bring back the Cascade Park swimming pool. The city of New Castle and the United Way tentatively have reached an agreement on leasing the pool to the agency, allowing it to rehabilitate the facility that has been dormant for approximately 14 years.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • razzano-1.jpg New Castle Schools: Razzano resigns in settlement with district

    Robert Razzano has resigned from his position as New Castle Junior High School principal, effective yesterday. The school board in an 8-0 vote ratified an agreement between Razzano and the district that ends his employment and allows him to collect his pay through the end of the year, an amount of $29,610.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

The driver of the car that killed Shenango Township police officer Jerry McCarthy has been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison. You OK with the sentence?

Yes
No. Not long enough.
No. Too long.
Not sure
     View Results