Suspicious Fires Have Neighbors Worried

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MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP -- Homeowners in one part of Northumberland County are starting the weekend knowing that three properties have burned. All three fires are suspicious.

Benjamin Gerrity looked over the damage a fire did to his garage early Thursday morning in the village of Atlas, near Mount Carmel.

"It was kind-of a shock at 3 a.m. to see a bright glow outside, a 30 foot bonfire," Gerrity said.

Gerrity's garage and three others were either damaged or destroyed by what investigators say was a suspicious fire.

Investigators said it was the third suspicious fire in less than one week in the small community. That has people concerned.

"It's very, very, very scary. I've got small kids so it's scary," said Sara Goff.

Goff lives across the street from several vacant buildings, which is where one of the fires happened. She and some other residents believe it is the work of an arsonist.

"If they can start fires in abandoned buildings and garages, and they haven't been caught yet, what's to stop them from starting fires in our homes," asked Goff.

"Someone could get hurt, someone innocent. Even if this guy doesn't intend for someone to get hurt, I think he should quit now before someone gets hurt by these fires," said Gerrity.

The Mount Carmel Township police chief said the township is taking action against abandoned properties. He said supervisors recently purchased plywood and will soon start to board up doors and windows.

"Make sure that your doors are locked, and if you can put your porch lights on in the front and back of your homes please do so," said Chief Brian Hollenbush.

Chief Brian Hollenbush urges vacant property owners to board up their buildings. He said extra police are patrolling the area. If you have any information on any of these fires near Mount Carmel, you are asked to call police.