Abandoned Penn Hills building home to 2 suspicious fires in 4 days

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two suspicious fires within a four-day period at the same vacant building have police and county fire marshals seeking answers.

Police and fire crews responded to separate reports of arson at an abandoned building on the 6600 block of Leechburg Road, next to the Department of Public Works salt garage earlier this month.

The first, on June 4, was a vehicle on fire, registered to Cheryl Crock of East Hickory, Pa. Police were able to identify Crock using the vehicle's VIN number, but in his report, Ptl. Michael Lape said he was unable to locate a Cheryl Crock in Pennsylvania. The vehicle was not reported stolen.

On June 8, police, fire and EMS crews responded at about 12:30 p.m. to a second report of a fire at the same building, which police said is owned by Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad. The railroad runs between Conneaut, Ohio and Penn Hills. The company is in the process of selling the property to what the police report referred to as an “unknown business.”

Rail officials could not be reached for comment.

An officer from U.S. Steel and Union Railroad also responded to the second fire, and told police he had been patrolling the area before noon and did not notice anything suspicious.

The police report from the vehicle fire notes that “the inside of the building is full of trash and shows signs that person(s) may be going in and out.”

County fire marshals were called to investigate.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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