Youngstown crews battle 7 fires in 24 hours

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Fire crews in Youngstown battled seven fires Sunday and Monday, including two blazes within 10 minutes of each other early Monday.

Fire officials said five of the fires were at vacant homes and two were occupied. Four fires broke out on Sunday and three were ignited on Monday. Six of the seven were on the city’s South Side.

Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill said two of the fires rekindled, so firefighters actually dealt with nine fires total. He said the fires did not require extra manpower to be called, but at one point, every truck in the city was out.

Arson is suspected in at least two house fires. Both fires were set at about 3:30 a.m., one at 38 Brooklyn Ave. and the other at 3104 Southern Blvd.

The chief said the fact that most of the fires all happened in the same neighborhood instead of spread out all over the city is a good indication they might be dealing with a fire bug. He said fire investigator Capt. Alvin Ware has gotten a few tips and he is following up on them.

One firefighter, Tim Jones, 30, fell through the steps while responding to the suspected arson on Southern Boulevard, and also suffered second-degree burns on his legs.

O’Neill said Jones wants to return to work.

“He wants to come back to work, but I don’t think I’ll let him for a couple of days,” O’Neill said.

Crews were twice called to a fire at 137 E. Judson Ave., 38 Brooklyn Ave. and at the Southern Boulevard fire. Crews were called to that address on both Sunday and Monday.

The fire department let at least one of the vacant homes burn to the ground. O’Neill said as long as there are no vagrants inside and they can burn it without threatening nearby structures they will let it burn.

Otherwise, the decision moves to the city’s street department, where emergency cases will warrant an immediate demolition. O’Neill said the street department is backlogged with burned houses and there is a still a huge list of houses that need demolished.

A woman who lives next door to 137 E. Judson Ave. said she has been trying to get the home torn down for five years.

Here is a list of the seven fires in order they broke out and an accompanying map.

1. 167 Hilton Ave., vacant, 3:23 a.m. Sunday

2.  137 E. Judson Ave., vacant, 5:59 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Sunday

3.  54 E. Avondale Ave., vacant, 6:45 a.m. Sunday

4.  540 Idora Ave., occupied, 9:11 p.m. Sunday

5.  17 Park Heights Ave., occupied, 2:31 a.m. Monday

6.  38 Brooklyn Ave., vacant, 5:11 a.m. and 8:34 a.m. Monday

7.  3104 Southern Blvd., vacant, 4:42 a.m. Sunday and  5:58 a.m. Monday

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