Youngstown fire chief issues warning following vacant house fires

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown fire crews were busy late Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning fighting two vacant house fires that broke out within minutes of each other in the city.

The first fire broke out about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday on Pearl Street. The second fire call came in just after midnight Wednesday at a house on Ridge Avenue.

When crews arrived at the Ridge Avenue fire, the house was consumed in flames, and firefighters worked to protect the neighboring houses.

Both fires are considered suspicious. Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill said if someone is burning down vacant houses, they are doing more harm than good.

“These houses burn really quickly and sometimes people don’t know that and don’t realize how fast they’ll burn,” O’Neill said. “Maybe some people might think that lighting them will get them torn down faster or get action quicker, but it jeopardizes good homes.”

The state fire marshal will be on both sites on Wednesday to determine exactly what caused the fires.

In the past few weeks, three houses were burned in the Oak Hill neighborhood. O’Neill thinks those fires were also intentionally set.

“We do have some people of interest on that. We’re not tying them all together yet, but we’re going to take all the leads we can and work on that,” O’Neill said.

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