Arsonist has residents feeling the heat

August 1, 2008 3:52:54 PM PDT
It is quite a rampage. State police in Embreeville, Chester County, are investigating seven arson fires. They believe they are all connected, and some people have barely escaped with their lives. Gerald Weaver is one of them.

"I was in bed. A neighbor got me out just in time."

Gerald Weaver was the first victim.

His house went up in flames on June 8th.

It was gutted; $200,000 worth of damage. "It was completely destroyed. Completely destroyed. They're taking it down to the foundation and we're gonna rebuild it from there."

Two women were injured climbing down from the second floor when this house in Pomeroy went up in flames.

Someone threw a gasoline soaked towel onto the side porch.

The house across the street was also hit.

State Police and Coatesville police are investigating.

They say whoever's doing it is putting lives at risk.

Cpl. Troy Hyman says, "What they maybe don't understand is that once the fire starts, where it goes is beyond their control. Certainly lives are at stake."

Joyce Wright and Gail Smith live a couple of doors down from the two fires in Pomeroy.

They say they're living on edge.

In most cases the fires have been started on porches and decks.

The deck behind Gerald Weaver's house was set on fire and quickly took out the garage and the rest of the house.

Many residents have started trimming overgrown shrubbery to make their porches and decks more visible.

They keep their lights on at night, but some, like Gail Smith, can't even sleep.

"I'm up all night. All night. I come out, look out the door. I go to the kitchen, look out. My bedroom's in the back so I'm always looking out the back."

It is a case of domestic terrorism that only by luck hasn't claimed any lives yet. The police need your help before someone is killed. If you have useful information, you can collect a $2,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-4-PATIPS.

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