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Hempfield Township house fire termed 'suspicious'

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 12:13 a.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Four people escaped a suspicious fire at 3 a.m. Saturday at 1322 Swede Hill Road in Hempfield Township, Carbon Fire Dept. Chief George Reese said. A state police fire marshal is continuing the investigation.

A state police fire marshal is investigating an early Saturday fire in Hempfield Township that damaged two vehicles and a house.

Carbon Fire Department Chief George Reese said that while battling the 3 a.m. blaze, firefighters noticed vandalism on a white garage door that led him to deem the fire “suspicious” and request a fire marshal to investigate.

Trooper Chet Bell said the word “racist” was spray-painted in black lettering at the home along Swede Hill Road. Bell said on Sunday afternoon that he is conducting interviews and investigating the cause and origin of the fire.

No injuries were reported as the home's occupants were able to safely escape the blaze, Reese said. A man, a woman and two juveniles were listed as victims in a state police report.

A phone number listed for the address was out of service.

The spray-painted message was covered up Sunday by a wooden board; however, the fire's damage was evident.

A 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck parked at the home was gutted by flames. Reese said the truck was a “total loss.”

A minivan parked nearby sustained damage from heat radiating off the truck, he said.

Tan-colored siding on the home appeared to have melted, and the exterior wall sustained moderate damage, Reese said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state police fire marshal unit at Greensburg at 724-832-3288.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374.

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