MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP — A fire Sunday night in the village of Atlas marked the sixth fire in less than six weeks in that community near Mount Carmel.
Police say Sunday night’s fire in Atlas was ruled accidental but several recent fires in the small community are being called suspicious. People who live in Atlas say every time they hear sirens they worry their houses are on fire.
Caution tape surrounds a fire-damaged house on West Girard Street in Atlas. Firefighters in this community near Mount Carmel have been busy. In the last six weeks there have been six fires within a half-mile radius.
“It’s getting pretty close to home. I think a lot of the neighbors are really starting to get worried about what’s going on with all these fires,” said Scott Weaver.
“Everybody in Atlas, when they hear a fire whistle, they think there’s another fire in Atlas. You never know where it’s going to be,” said Connie Wenrich.
“With all the fires going on around here and the one yesterday, we’re very petrified,” Nicole Rakus said.
Police say there were six fires in Atlas since late April. Four of them have been ruled suspicious.
Debbie Weaver is on edge because of the fires. As soon as she hears sirens she turns her scanner on.
“Where the fire is at? Is it a case of arson?”
The Mount Carmel Township police chief is advising people to board up vacant properties, keep doors and windows locked, and to keep porch lights on outside. Many people in Atlas say that’s exactly what they’re doing.
“We need to come together as a community and start watching out for each other and report any suspicious people,” Scott Weaver added.
Officials in Atlas recently took action and boarded up several vacant buildings.
If you have any information on any of these fires you are asked to contact Mount Carmel Township Police.