The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

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 fscarcella@dailyitem.com.

1
Text Only
News
  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Schools ask state to waive 180-day rule

    Three area school districts have asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to add up their hours instead of their days in order to reach the required amount of instruction time in the school year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Former Bucknell star in NBA playoffs

    ATLANTA — It really hit Mike Muscala a few days ago when he was listening to the Nets’ starting lineup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    April 19, 2014

  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

  • Report: Pennsylvania forests impacted by drilling

    PITTSBURGH — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

    April 18, 2014

  • TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Route 45 east of Montandon

    MONTANDON — A paving project is slowing traffic today on Route 45 east of Montandon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Accident victims remain in critical condition this morning

    DANVILLE - Victims from serious traffic accidents the past two days remain in critical condition this morning at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

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.