The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

November 30, 2009

Firefighter hurt as arsonists strike home a second time

By Courtney L. Anderson

SHARON — A Sharon firefighter was hurt Sunday night while battling the second arson in two weeks at a house on Irvine Avenue.

Firefighter Darrell Torrance broke his leg when he stepped in a hole while working the fire at 671 S. Irvine Ave., fire Chief Terry Whalen said.

It was the third arson in Sharon this month. There have been more than 30 in the city since 2007 according to Herald files.

“What’s very disturbing to me is, needlessly, we have a firefighter injured who’s going to be off work for a period of time now all because someone set fire to a house,” Whalen said.

Fire Captain Charles Perry said the fire — which police said a neighbor reported to 911 at 8:37 p.m. — started in the rear of the house, just as it did when someone set the triplex ablaze on Nov. 16.

The fire spread to the second and third floors and the attic. Perry said firefighters put the fire out and were on scene until about 11 p.m. Firefighters were concerned about the house’s proximity to nearby buildings, Whalen said.

The house is owned by Abraham Ashenberg of Brooklyn, N.Y., Whalen said. It was not insured.

Sharon police Chief Mike Menster said people who live in neighborhoods with vacant houses should be extra vigilant. Most of the city’s arsons have been at vacant buildings.

Menster said neighbors can be a big help in investigating arsons.

“If you see any suspicious activities call 911 right away,” Menster said.

Firefighters returned to the house at 5:45 a.m. Monday to put out what was either a rekindle of the evening blaze or someone relighting the fire, Perry said.

Farrell firefighters were also at the scene Sunday night as part of the cities’ joint automatic response agreement. Brookfield Fire Department also responded.