Four fires in Westmoreland County over weekend under investigation by state fire marshal

First responders were called to four fires within a short distance of each other in Westmoreland County over the weekend.

The fire chief in Arnold wouldn’t say if the cause of the fires is suspicious, but the state police fire marshal is investigating.

Channel 11 captured video of the most recent fire at a house on Leishman Avenue in Arnold just before 10 p.m. Sunday. We know that one person was able to escape and a firefighter had to be evaluated after they fell.

Sunday night, Frank Rixey called 911 the moment saw an inferno on his elderly neighbor’s back porch, as others who live on Leishman Avenue scrambled to help.

“The one neighbor came with the hose and was trying to put it out to keep it away from the boat so the boat in the back wouldn’t explode,” Rixey said.

Luckily, Rixey’s neighbor was not home during what would turn out to be the fourth fire over the weekend for crews in Arnold, New Kensington, and other neighboring departments. Firefighters were dispatched to two vacant house fires on Saturday – followed by another vacant house catching fire on Sunday.

“The first one on Saturday afternoon, the abandoned home was kind of a hoarding situation,” said Arnold’s fire chief Eric Gartley. “The one [Sunday] night…that provided some challenges due to the fact that the flames were able to spread through multiple floors of the home.”

Channel 11 reached out to the State Police Fire Marshal’s Office in Westmoreland County. As of 11:45 a.m. Monday, we are still waiting to hear back.

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