Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
Nov. 1—A fire that left several Jeannette residents homeless Monday was deemed suspicious.
Jeannette police Chief Donald Johnston Jr. said that determination was made by a state police fire marshal.
“We are conducting follow-up investigations with witnesses and neighbors,” Johnston said.
The blaze swept through two Division Street homes Monday afternoon and damaged a third, destroying the homes of seven apartment tenants. No one was hurt.
Firefighters discovered the Division Street blaze after they had quickly extinguished a porch fire at an abandoned home at 509 Lavelle St., about a block away. The fire on Lavelle Street was reported at 1:57 p.m., and the Division Street fire was reported at 2:04 p.m., a Westmoreland County Public Safety supervisor said.
Johnston said the Lavelle Street fire also was suspicious. It was unclear whether the two are connected.
Investigators believe that the fire started in the rear of the house at 321 Division St. It spread to the house at 325 Division St., which is separated by a sidewalk from 321 Division St. Siding on the adjacent house at 319 Division St. was damaged, and the interior has smoke and water damage.
The Red Cross said late Monday it assisted seven adults and four children who lived in the apartments.
The abandoned Lavelle Street house was the site of a fire in April 2020 that damaged the second floor. State police could not determine how the blaze started, though firefighters found evidence of a squatter living inside. Utility service had been cut off, and the listed owner of the house has been deceased since 2018, police said at the time.
Fire Chief Bill Frye said the property is slated for demolition.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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