Suspicious fire at abandoned York home has some questioning if squatters were involved

YORK, Pa. -- A suspicious fire at an abandoned home in York has some neighbors concerned how exactly it started.

It happened in the 100 block of West Cottage Place Wednesday evening.

The empty home was marked a ‘No Fire Department Entry Building’  due to structural stability issues for the last two years, prohibiting firefighters from going inside.

As a result, the structure was quickly demolished for the safety of any surrounding homes.

Neighbors say they've witnessed strangers near the home prior to the fire.

“I’ve seen squatters coming in and out of here now this house I’ve seen a few people in the backyard," said Alexa Kordei, neighbor.

According to officials, they have ruled out electrical issues and are calling the fire suspicious.

“There is no gas water or electric, no ignition source, nothing that could have caused this fire from a utility prospective," said acting fire chief, Chad Deardorff, York City Fire Department. 

While the exact cause has not yet been determined, city officials say abandoned homes can present issues for those looking for a warm place to sleep.

“Maybe they are using candles for light at night things like that that are all fire hazards and can result in accidental fires in these properties," said Steven Buffington, Deputy Director of Permits, Planning & Zoning, City of York.

Officials say those X's marked on homes can sometimes be an invitation for squatters, however they are important for safety reasons.

“These markings have kept firefighters from going in and getting themselves into danger that they shouldn’t," said Buffington.

Buffington recommends anyone who sees squatter at an abandoned or vacant home call their local police department.

“We have to rely very heavily on neighbors people in the neighborhoods reporting to us that they’ve seen people going in and out of the property," said Buffington.“We gotta get a grip on some of these issues that are just destroying our city," he added.

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