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Two teen-aged girls have been charged with arson in connection with several fires in the Grandview area of the city that investigators believe were deliberately set.
The girls, both 14, from McKeesport and White Oak, were arrested following a fire at an abandoned house on Easler Street on April 16, and police believe the youths are also responsible for fires at three other vacant houses in the neighborhood.
The teens are charged with five counts each of arson and causing or risking a catastrophe. Both were arrested April 17 and taken to Shuman Juvenile Detention Center for processing, police said.
McKeesport police said firefighters were dispatched just before 7 p.m. April 16 to the abandoned home near the “mound” in Renziehausen Park and arrived to find the home fully engulfed in flame, and thick, black smoke present.
According to obituary files, the home’s owner died in 2011 and the structure has apparently been vacant since then.
Police said officers spoke to neighbors and learned that one had a surveillance camera that had captured video of two teen-age girls walking away from the area. According to a report, a witness told police that the two girls had been seen walking up the street about a half-hour before the fire.
Police identified the teen-agers and obtained arrest warrants the following day. The suspects and their parents were cooperative, police said.
Investigators believe the girls also set fires in vacant houses March 9, March 27 and April 15, and attempted to set another fire unsuccessfully. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.
The Allegheny County fire marshal’s office assisted with the investigation.
Editor’s Note: Tube City Almanac does not identify criminal suspects who are charged as juveniles.
Originally published April 28, 2020.