Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coatesville PA Arsonist Strikes Again


Why anyone would deliberately start a fire that damaged 15 homes in Coatesville, PA today is beyond me. And, this isn't the first time this has happened in Coatesville. According to the article from NYTimes.com, it may be part of a gang initiation. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"The latest in a string of suspicious fires in this Philadelphia suburb tore through a block of row houses over the weekend, damaging 15 homes, leaving several dozen people homeless and prompting city officials to declare a state of emergency.

At least 30 arson's have been reported since the beginning of last year, about half of them in the last three weeks. The police said the fires might be part of a gang initiation, but there was no clear information about who was committing the crimes or why.

The latest fire was reported late Saturday at the back of one house, and it quickly spread to adjacent homes.

“This is an arson,” said the Coatesville city manager, Harry Walker. “No question about it.”

The fire came despite increased police patrols and investigative help from county, state and federal agencies.

“A lot of people are scared,” a resident, Marissa Martinez, said as she watched smoke rise from the rubble. “I never thought things could come to this point.”

Damage from the fire was estimated at $1.2 million, and some of the homes may have to be demolished, Mr. Walker said."

To read the complete article, go to this page on NYTimes.com.

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