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Harrisburg fires ruled arson

HBGFIRE

Investigators in Harrisburg said two fires that broke out on July 8 were arson.

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Local News
07/16/13

13-year-old arson suspect turns herself in

A 13-year-old girl who was wanted in connection with two arson fires in Harrisburg last week–turned herself over to police on Monday, police said. The juvenile and her mother arrived at the Harrisburg City police station late in the afternoon. Police say the teen is charged with arson, risking a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy and violating curfew.

The girl was originally supposed to surrender to police on Friday.

She was taken to the Dauphin County Booking Center for processing and then released back into the custody of her mother.

“It’s case by case.  A couple of different factors go into it,” said Dauphin County Senior Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer. “In this instance, however, it’s my  understanding that the city police made the initial decision not to have her detained and released to her mother. However, that is subject to change. The juvenile probation office, (or) our office can make the call at any time that she be detained.”

Investigators say the Dauphin County Juvenile Probation Department will take over her case.

Two 18-year-old women, Alexis Poteat and Aliah Alli, have already been charged in connection with the fires that damaged several homes along the 2000 block of Susquehanna Street and the 2100 block of Penn Street last week.

Baer said should the juvenile be found guilty, she could be responsible for paying restitution to the victims. Her parents legally would not be responsible for that, though Baer points out as a practical matter relatives often handle those expenses.

James Young lives on Susquehanna Street and was working Tuesday on cleaning up the mess in his house.

“The third story is basically trashed,” said Young. “The ceiling collapsed because of the weight of the water.

He and his wife made it safely out of the house. His family’s six cats eventually got out as well. Since the fire, two have taken off, Young said.

Young mentioned he had been working on a manuscript about a union in Erie that he was close to finishing the day the fire broke out. He was able to save his work but lost some of the research material he had gathered.

“I’m relieved that those particular people won’t be free to be doing this again soon. That was a concern, that as long as they remained at large, perhaps they were encouraged to continue,” said Young.

The fires left 18 people homeless. Young said his insurance company has paid for him and his wife to stay at a motel for now.

hbgfire2

A 13-year-old girl who was wanted in connection with two arson fires in Harrisburg last week–turned herself over to police on Monday, police said. The juvenile and her mother arrived at the Harrisburg City police station late in the afternoon. Police say the teen is charged with arson, risking a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy and violating curfew.

The girl was originally supposed to surrender to police on Friday.

She was taken to the Dauphin County Booking Center for processing and then released back into the custody of her mother.

Investigators say the Dauphin County Juvenile Probation Department will take over her case.

Two 18-year-old women have already been charged in connection with the fires that damaged several homes along the 2000 block of Susquehanna Street and the 2100 block of Penn Street last week.

2013-07-01030 Alexis Poteat

Alexis Poteat

Alexis Poteat is charged with arson, risking catastrophe and conspiracy to commit arson.

Aliah Alli is charged with conspiracy in connection with the fires.

2013-07-01030 Aliah Alli

Aliah Alli

The fire on July 8 displaced 18 people on Susquehanna Street and damaged several homes. No one was injured.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

 

 

 

 

HBGFIRE

A 13-year-old girl who was allegedly involved in setting two fires in Harrisburg did not turn herself into authorities on Friday as planned, police said.

According to city detectives,  they have been in contact with the girl’s family and arrangements are being made to bring her in.

Two 18-year-old women have already been charged in connection with the fires that damaged several homes along the 2000 block of Susquehanna Street and the 2100 block of Penn Street last week.

2013-07-01030 Alexis Poteat

Alexis Poteat

Alexis Poteat is charged with arson, risking catastrophe and conspiracy to commit arson.

Aliah Alli is charged with conspiracy in connection with the fires.

2013-07-01030 Aliah Alli

Aliah Alli

Charges are pending against the juvenile, police said.

The fire on July 8 displaced 18 people on Susquehanna Street and damaged several homes. No one was injured.

The investigation is ongoing.

Two 18 year old women are charged by Harrisburg City Police with deliberately setting rowhouse fires on Susquehanna and Penn Streets last Monday morning.  Alexis Poteat and Aliah Alli, both of Harrisburg are each charged with two counts of first degree Arson, two counts of Conspiracy to Commit Arson and two counts of Risking Catastrophe.

A third suspect, a 13 year old juvenile, is expected to be surrendered by family members on Friday.

The fire on Susquehanna Street displaced 18 people and 3 pets in eight homes. The Penn Street fire was in a vacant house. There were no injuries reported in either fire.

Local News
07/08/13

Two fires in Harrisburg ruled suspicious

Firefighters in Harrisburg are investigating back-to-back fires that are being ruled suspicious.

“An entire life, 32 years, gone,” says Michael Bordner.  He can no longer call 2042 Susquehanna Street home.

“I could hear popping next door, wood cracking.  I wasn’t sure how bad it was, but I could see the flames coming down the steps,” he says.

Around midnight on Monday, Harrisburg firefighters began to put out large flames that initially engulfed a vacant row home next to Bordner’s.

Bordner says, “2044 was the first one on fire, mine was the second, then it jumped to 2046 and spread from there.”

Firefighters say the fire damaged eight row homes.  Many were destroyed.

Michael says he lost, “family photos, important documents, military records, daughters birth certificates, social security cards, things you don’t pick up, you can’t print off paper.”

Neighbor Emily Myers says, “It looked like something out of a war zone, it was horrible, flames up to the sky, smoke pouring all over the place.”

Harrisburg City Fire Chief, Robert Talloni, says the cause of the fire is suspicious.

Neighbor Michael Deane says, “It’s the kids from what I find, not so much older generation.  Young people, kids from 15 to 18 range, doing crazy things.”

Bordner says, “If that’s the case then I don’t think they understood the type of lives they affected in childish acts.”

Around 1 a.m. firefighters were called to a second fire at a home on Penn St.  It damaged four homes.  The two fires are about three block from one another.

In total, 13 adults and five children are displaced.  The fires remain under investigation.

Eighteen people were displaced early Monday morning after two separate fires broke out in Harrisburg City. The first happened just after midnight at a vacant row home along the 2000 block of  Susquehanna Streets. The fire quickly spread to adjoining properties.

About an hour later– a second fire broke out just a short distance away along Penn and Maclay Streets.

The Red Cross is assisting 13 adults and five children who were displaced by the blaze.

Fire investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened, but they’re calling both fires suspicious.

At this time, it’s unknown how much damage the fires caused.

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