Officials: Historic building fire in Solebury Twp. believed to be arson

Walter Perez Image
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Suspicious fire at Solebury Township historic building: Walter perez reports on Action News at 5 p.m., August 15, 2018

SOLEBURY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Fire officials in Bucks County believe a blaze on Route 202 between Upper Mountain Road and Aquatong Road Wednesday morning might have been intentionally set.

The call came in just after 7:30 a.m. about a fire on the 6000 block of Route 202 in Solebury Township.

First responders arrived to find a renovated stone structure on fire.

It didn't take long for fire crews to gain the upper hand, but investigators were able to quickly determine that this fire was intentionally set.

Local authorities are increasingly concerned that this may be the work of a serial arsonist.

Jerry Lepping, President and COO of Visit Bucks County, says you really can't put a value on those kinds of buildings.

"It's part of the community. I mean people identify where they live with a place like that," he said. "For example, they tell people, 'We're up by the Thompson-Neely House.' It's a landmark, and you lose a part of your community."

Nearly two weeks ago, an 18th Century home on the 1600 block of River Road was damaged by fire as well.

That blaze at the historic Victorian Neely House is also being investigated as a case of arson.

Investigators are looking into other structure fires in this part of Bucks County to see if these cases are linked.

Solebury Township Police Detective Jonathan Koretzky said, "We're looking at then evidence. It appears that it's strong at this point. It shows some issues going on. We're looking at a potentially major problem of fires being started in the area. We're asking anyone on Route 202 this morning if they witnessed any suspicious vehicles, people, persons, and cars parked in the driveway of the Homestarr Realty. If so contact us."

Two other fires in the area included an unoccupied business on the 1100 block of Taylorsville Road on August 1st. And last month there was a barn fire on the 400 block of Stoopville Road.

So far, there is no connections linking all four fires, but the last two similarities are striking.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Solebury Township Police Department.


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