WEST HAZLETON – A fire in the 200 block of Ridge Avenue on Saturday night that destroyed one residence and damaged another was intentionally set, said state police Fire Marshal David Klitsch.
The fire at 227 Ridge Ave. started in the rear foyer of the two-story home, Klitsch said after inspecting the damage early Sunday. He would not comment on what he suspected started the fire or if it might have been started by neighborhood children playing around the home, which he said was vacant and unoccupied at the time.
Klitsch said he is also checking for videos from any neighboring businesses’ security cameras to see if anyone suspicious was around the house.
The house was fully engulfed in flames when West Hazleton, Hazle Township and McAdoo fire departments arrived on the scene after receiving the call at 7:32 p.m. Saturday, West Hazleton Fire Chief Robert Ward said.
The fire spread to a double-block house at 223-225 Ridge Ave. Louise Volchiak lived at 225.
“There was a 6-foot walkway between the two buildings. The fire spread across the walkway or sidewalk into her building,” Klitsch said.
Volchiak was able to get out of her residence safely, but because of fire damage to the exterior and interior of her home she will be staying with relatives for a while, Ward said.
The destroyed home is owned by Keith Haraschak, of Hatboro, in southeastern Pennsylvania. Klitsch said Haraschak was not in the area at the time of the fire.
There were no injuries, Ward said.
Klitsch stressed the investigation is continuing and asked anyone with information to call the state police at Hazleton at 459-3890.