New Castle News


June 2, 2014

Fire in vacant East Side house ‘suspicious’

NEW CASTLE — Bobby Flynn was mowing his yard around 9:30 yesterday morning when he smelled smoke.

He looked across the street to see smoke coming from the roof of a two-story house at 922 Maryland Ave.

“I knew no one lived there and it was getting worse,” he said. So, he called 911.

His quick reaction could have saved the house from going up in flames.

“We got to this one early,” New Castle fire chief Mark Panella said.

Smoke was coming out of the upstairs windows and seeping through the roof, but the fire apparently originated from the first floor at the back of the house.

Firefighters went inside the house and broke out all of the windows. One fireman ripped off the back wall with a crowbar and he and another fireman sprayed water on the hot spot in the back of the house.

Fireman David Joseph said someone apparently had just bought the two-story, yellow frame house, and it had electric and gas service.

According to fire reports, the fire started under a back window inside the dining room and is of suspicious origin.

Chris Fabian, city fire investigator, said someone set the fire using an accelerant.

The house, assessed at $34,900, sustained about $5,000 in damages. There was not a lot of fire or water damage, but there was heavy smoke damage, the report said.

A few pieces of furniture had been left inside.

The house was sold at a May 2 tax sale to Hong Shuang Ma of Belmont, Mass., for $10,500, according to the county tax claim bureau.

Fabian said the house had been vacant for about three years.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area yesterday is asked to contact the New Castle Police Department at (724) 656-3576.

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