School Closings And Delays

Arsonist On The Loose In Schuylkill County?

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WEST MAHANOY TOWNSHIP -- Some people in one community remember an arson spree and wonder if that crime has been committed again.

Flames consumed a vacant double block home in the village of William Penn near Shenandoah Monday morning.

Neighbor Steve Forgotch said he  watched the flames.

"I was worried they were going to start shooting and come to my house here. We can thank the Good Lord it wasn't a windy day or these could have went up."

Firefighters fought the blaze for more than six hours and Fire Chief Al Miscannon said he was concerned for his firefighters safety.

"We do have some dilapidated buildings in the area so we took a proactive approach but stayed defensive so I don't put guys at unnecessary risk."

Some neighbors say the village of William Penn has a problem. There are at least a dozen vacant homes, like this one. About five years ago an arsonist struck, setting six fires.

No arrests were ever made. Some neighbors,including Dennis Benjamin want to know if the latest fire was intentionally set.

"It could be. There hasn't been fires here so you know it could have been some kid in there whatever I don't know ." Benjamin said.

A crew is tearing down a vacant garage.  Colleen Kroh said she knows the empty buildings are firetraps.

"I think the owners should be made to do about them. They should be made to either fix them up or take them down.

A West Mahanoy Township official says so far a dozen vacant buildings have been demolished leaving 59 others. Six more are waiting for the wrecking ball this year.