CONYNGHAM TWP. – A fire broke out Monday in the Mocanaqua section of the township – the fourth fire in the Shickshinny area in the past eight days – and the fire chief is calling it suspicious.
Firefighters were dispatched at 2:44 p.m. to a structure fire at 15-17 Railroad St. that Mocanaqua Fire Chief Stephen McDaniels said was called in by a next-door neighbor who saw smoke rising from the building.
McDaniels said smoke was billowing from the rear of the vacant, flood-damaged double-block home, which actually contains three apartments.
Firefighters were on-scene within a minute or two, McDaniels said, noting the structure is one street over and a few hundred yards from the fire station.
He said the fire, which appears to have started in a wall between the basement and first floor, was knocked down quickly.
McDaniels said the fire is suspicious, given that the home was vacant and no utilities were connected.
State police Fire Marshal Carrie Dodson was on-scene investigating.
Two arsons in neighboring Shickshinny last Tuesday and a fire in Mocanaqua on Monday occurred just about a month after another arson at neighboring row homes.
State police Fire Marshal Ron Jarocha had said that a structure fire at 194 Susquehanna Ave., Shickshinny, and a vehicle fire in front of 151 Canal St., Shickshinny, both were intentionally set early last Tuesday morning.
Jarocha also determined that a fire at 3 Main St. in Mocanaqua last Monday afternoon was intentionally set. And he noted that a fire at a row home at 4-5-6 Main St. in October also was arson.
Jarocha had said there was no evidence to suggest that the three fires last week are connected, because they were all started in different ways. He would not provide specifics so as to not jeopardize the success of his investigation.
While each fire was set differently, McDaniels said a connection can't be ruled out.
McDaniels and officials in both municipalities are asking that residents be vigilant and immediately report anything suspicious to police by calling 911. The chief also suggests leaving porch lights on overnight.