The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 29, 2011

Cause of latest Sunbury fire remains undetermined

SUNBURY — If Thursday’s fire is ruled an arson, it will be the 16th in the city in 14 months.

And that possibility has Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo fuming.

Right now, the cause of the blaze remains undetermined, officials said Friday after firefighters smashed glass and used a chainsaw to destroy a roof and release an inferno from a Vine Street duplex late Thursday night.

“We are taking a stand against this right now,” Mazzeo said of the series of arsons plaguing the city. Of the 15 arsons since February 2010, charges have been filed in two and the other 13 are unsolved.

Mazzeo announced Friday that the city has formed a task force to address the arsons, and that undercover personnel will patrol the streets.

“We are actively investigating leads that we have,” he said.

Thursday’s fire broke out on the back porch of a house at 315 Vine St., and Sunbury Fire Chief Dean Weirick wouldn’t say Friday whether the blaze was set.

“It is being called undetermined,” Weirick said. “It is under investigation, and we are looking at many different things, so that doesn’t mean we won’t change our ruling.”

Police and fire officials are following leads, he said. The fire was reported at about 10:15 p.m.

State police Fire Marshal Norman Fedder, of the Milton barracks, was at the scene on Friday and said the blaze started on the interior wall of the rear porch. It quickly spread through a crawl space, then throughout the house and into the neighboring home at 313 Vine St.

Two weeks ago, Fedder declared Sunbury “a problem area.”

“It is. And it needs to get solved,” Fedder said at that time. “I have some ideas, and I will be meeting with city police to discuss them.”

On April 13 and 14, an arsonist struck the city when a house fire and a garage fire erupted on North Fifth Street.

In August, Tyler William Hendricks, of Sunbury, was arrested in connection with an attempt to start a fire on the roof of the Dollar General Store on Market Street. Hendricks pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. A juvenile also was charged in that case.

Also in August, Bernard Pennycoff, of Sunbury, was charged with arson, but pleaded guilty to risking a catastrophe and was sentenced to time served and probation.

“This is out of control,” resident Amy Stout said Friday. “I have to worry every time I park in my garage that someone is going to try and burn it down.”

Stout leaves her lights and television on in her garage to make it appear that someone is inside, she said.

“I don’t even care about paying for electricity,” Stout said. “It’s cheaper than having to rebuild my garage.”

— Email comments to

Text Only
  • Baby, 3 others hurt in Route 11 crash near Danville

    DANVILLE — Two women, an infant and the baby’s 2-year-old girl sister were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a three-vehicle chain-reaction accident at 3:14 p.m. Friday on Route 11 near Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Center in Mahoning Township.

    July 26, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • William Cameron to spend $12,000 to find new chief

    LEWISBURG — The William Cameron Engine Company will pay a State College consulting firm more than $12,000 to help the Lewisburg fire house find its first paid chief after its first national search to fill the job ended without a new leader.

    July 26, 2014

  • Ann Targonski DA clears officer in Sunbury shooting

    SUNBURY — Three shots from a Taser could not stop 390-pound Erick Trometter from attacking Sunbury’s then-acting Police Chief Brad Hare with a large filet knife, so the veteran officer drew his gun and shot the 22-year-old city man in the leg, according to a report issued Friday.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • stauffer25br.jpg Area cyclist pedals 4,233 miles in 21 days for race

    Growing up in a Mennonite family, Jesse Stauffer often traveled the roads in Snyder County on a bicycle.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.