Jeannette fire deemed suspicious by state police fire marshal

Jeannette fire deemed suspicious by state police fire marshal
Jeannette fire deemed suspicious by state police fire marshal

A fire that left several residents of Jeannette homeless on Monday has been deemed suspicious.

Jeannette Police Chief Donald Johnston Jr. said the decision was made by a state police fire marshal.

“We are conducting follow-up investigations with witnesses and neighbors,” Johnston said.

The fire swept through two houses on Division Street on Monday afternoon and damaged a third, destroying the homes of seven tenants. No one was hurt.

Firefighters discovered the Division Street blaze after quickly extinguishing a porch fire in an abandoned house at 509 Lavelle Street, about a block away. The Lavelle Street fire 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 was also suspicious. It was unclear if the two were related.

Investigators believe the fire started in the back 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. The siding of the house adjacent to 319 Division St. was damaged, and the interior has smoke and water damage.

The Red Cross said on Monday evening it had helped seven adults and four children who lived in the apartments.

The abandoned house on rue Lavelle was the site of a fire in April 2020 which damaged the second floor. State police could not determine how the fire started, although firefighters found evidence of a squatter living inside. Utilities had been cut and the home’s listed owner had been deceased since 2018, police said at the time.

Fire Chief Bill Frye said the property should be demolished.

Renatta Signorini is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Renatta by email at [email protected] or through Twitter .

. The fire Jeannette judged suspect by provost of the fires police state

. Jeannette fire deemed suspicious state police fire marshal