Rewards totaling $10,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for nine fires in northern Indiana County between Aug. 9, 2018, and March 28 at a church, a furniture store, six other structures and a brush fire.
The Pittsburgh Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Philadelphia division reported Monday it is offering a reward of $8,000. Additionally, Indiana state police spokesman Trooper Cliff Greenfield said Monday afternoon that Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward.
ATF officials said most of those fires occurred at unoccupied or abandoned barns or other structures.
However, a fire at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 destroyed an furniture shop and store owned by Roman Byler along Stephenson Road in West Mahoning Township.
The owner, who is Amish, had no electric service to the shop and had left the woodburning stove cold, said state Trooper Russell Stewart, a fire investigator. Stewart estimated the damage at $50,000 and reported that no one was injured.
Another discovered at 4 a.m. Feb. 26 gutted Harmony Grove Lutheran Church along Five Points Road in Willet, near Creekside. State police fire marshals said the blaze started in two locations inside the church.
“It had a lot of heavy smoke and water damage,” said Tim Steffish, first assistant chief of Creekside Volunteer Fire Company.
“The fire originated in two separate areas, the center of the basement, and first floor chancel/altar area,” said Greenfield, who reported that one firefighter suffered a minor injury and required treatment.
On March 28 at 2:38 p.m. a third fire ruled to be incendiary by the state police ravaged a garage March 28 along Barnard Road in South Mahoning Township, between Dayton and Smicksburg.
The other fires that are on the list occurred at unoccupied or abandoned barns and buildings/structures:
• Aug. 9: Farmhouse/garage along Alabran Road, Smicksburg
• Dec. 15: Barn along Wolf Road, Smicksburg
• Dec. 21: Barn along Route 954, Creekside
• Dec. 29: Garage/shed along Bailey Road, Washington Township, and storage building along Whitaker and Rudolph roads, North Mahoning Township
• March 20: Brush fire along Getty and Pollock roads, East Mahoning Township
Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF 24/7 hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS, the Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-4-PA-TIPS or email ATFTips@atf.gov. Callers may remain anonymous.