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Somerset Co. porch fires believed to be arson

By: Jackalyn Kovac

SOMERSET, Pa. -- Two porch fires less than an hour apart at houses in Somerset County are believed to have been set on purpose after crews were called out early Thursday morning. Both houses are vacant, and crews investigating weren't able to find any natural causes for the fires.

Firefighters were called to a house on S. Center Avenue at 1:41 a.m. for a porch fire. By the time they arrived neighbors had helped put out the flames.

"My husband went out, and looked and there was a fire there. We called 911, and he went over there and put the fire out before the fire department got there," said Nicole Hardsty. "We filled pots and pans up."

Crews believe a dresser on the porch was set on fire, leaving on marks from the heat.

Forty minutes later, crews were called back out to a house on W. Main Street.

"As we were investigating [the S. Center Avenue fire], we had just gotten back to the [fire] hall, we got a second call of the same type, [a] structure fire, fire on the front porch," said Somerset Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Greg Davis. "It was two streets over from our hall."

Several items on the porch are were destroyed. A state police fire marshall is investigating both cases.

"It's just very suspicious that within walking distance from house one to two that the same type of fire was set," Davis said.

If you have any information that can help in the investigations, contact Somerset Police.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times