WEST HAZLETON — A home invasion and arson overnight have some people in West Hazleton on edge. Both crimes are under investigation.
A state police fire marshal and firefighters found the cause of the latest fire on North 3rd Street in West Hazleton. The police chief says it’s arson, just like a blaze in April and another one a few years again in the same house.
A few hours before the latest fire, police say there was a home invasion. Victim Joe Boyle said the armed thugs got away with $200 and some prescription medications.
“I put my head down like this and they said if I picked my head up, I would never pick my head up again, in their words they would do me, and all I can hear in my head we will do you, so I know if I picked my head up to see which way they went I would be dead.”
“What has people concerned is the house that burned and the home invasion are a short distance apart.
Joel Martinez, a neighbor, said he fears for his family.
“It’s getting worse. People getting robbed in their own house, you’re not feeling safe.”
Another neighbor, Donna Belick, says she’s afraid to have her granddaughter visit her.
“I don’t even want her around here, if something went wrong and shooting started? That would be on me!”
Belick explained the home invasion and the arson fires frighten her.
“I’ve about had it, enough is enough! I can’t afford to move out of here.”
Assistant Fire Chief Era Gould said every time there is a fire first responders put their lives on the line.
“Our safety is always at risk but we do this job and accept that risk.”
Three arsons at the house and the home invasion nearby are under investigation.