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Officials: Arsonist on the loose

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 03 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2012 04:18:00 AM CST

Arsonist on the loose

READING, Pa. -

Fire officials are stepping up their efforts to find an arsonist who set a Reading home on fire.

The flames erupted Thanksgiving night in a vacant home on Schuylkill Avenue near N. Front Street in Reading.

At one point, the fire became so ferocious, explosions could be seen coming from power lines, and one firefighter had to jump through a window to safety.

Officials could not release much information about the investigation, but they did say that, based on the path of the fire, as well as the absence of ignition sources in the home, the fire was set on purpose.

Officials are asking for your help in finding the arsonist.

Anybody with information is asked to call Crime: Alert Berks County immediately.

The number is 877-373-9913.

If your tip leads to an arrest, you could get a cash reward.

To prevent arson in your neighborhood:

• Keep leaves, firewood, overgrown brush and shrubbery, trash, and other combustibles away from buildings.

• Keep doors and windows locked when a building is unoccupied. Board up abandoned buildings.

• Report open and vacant buildings to the local Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement Division.

• Keep areas around homes and garages well lit.

• Store all flammable liquids such as paints, gasoline, and aerosols in an approved storage location, e.g., locked cabinets, locked storage units, locked garages, etc. (preventing access to kids), Also, keep these items away from heat sources such as furnaces and other types of heaters.

• Report suspicious activity near houses or other buildings to the local police immediately, and support Neighborhood Watch programs.

• If you suspect a child is setting fires, notify the proper authorities. It may not be just a phase the child is going through.

• Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of young children.

• If you know or suspect that arson was committed, contact your local fire or police department.