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Suspicious fire investigated in McKeesport

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Saturday, May 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Authorities are investigating what appears to be an attempted arson in McKeesport on Friday evening.

The fire on a front porch at 704 Bennett St. in the city's Fawcett Plan neighborhood was reported shortly after 9 o'clock by a neighbor who was able to douse it with a bucket of water before it could spread, said McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Don Sabol.

Sabol said there have been two other recent attempts to set fire to the porch. The home is unoccupied but is not in bad condition, he said.

On this latest attempt, a porch carpet was set on fire. The neighbor was able to pull the carpet off the porch and dump water on it but not before it left burn marks on the latticework of a porch railing.

McKeesport fire and police and the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office were on the scene investigating Friday night.

Ron Gobbels, who lives nearby, said the fire is troubling. It was just one year ago, he noted, that two abandoned houses on nearby East Street were intentionally set ablaze.

“We got firebugs around here that see an unoccupied house and want to set it on fire,” he said.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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