Another arson fire near Coatesville

An East Fallowfield couple's mobile home was set on fire Friday night. Despite "common traits" with the arsons in Coatesville, the blaze has not been linked to them, a federal official said.
An East Fallowfield couple's mobile home was set on fire Friday night. Despite "common traits" with the arsons in Coatesville, the blaze has not been linked to them, a federal official said.
Posted: February 08, 2009

The arson rampage in Chester County continued Friday night when a fire destroyed a mobile home in East Fallowfield, the 23d to terrorize the region since Jan. 1.

A husband and wife got out safely, but all that remained of the trailer in the 200 block of Buck Run Road was a charred shell. The fire, which was reported at 11:40 p.m., was arson, authorities said.

The blaze shared "common traits" with the 18 arsons in Coatesville and four in nearby communities this year, but investigators are not linking it to them, said John Hageman, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Rural East Fallowfield is about six miles from Coatesville. Authorities did not release the couple's names, but they said the couple was getting emergency aid from the American Red Cross.

A Red Cross spokeswoman gave the woman's age as 38, but did not have an age for her husband.

"This has been a tragedy all around," Coatesville City Council President Martin L. Eggleston said. "East Fallowfield is the Coatesville area, and we're all family. This is terrible."

Friday night was the start of a stricter curfew for juveniles in Coatesville. Until the state of emergency is lifted, anyone younger than 18 must be off the streets by 8 p.m. The previous restriction was 10 p.m.

Eggleston said there were no guarantees the curfew would be effective.

"Criminals are going to do whatever they want whenever they want," he said.

The fires have caused more than $3 million in damage and prompted the creation of the Chester County Arson Task Force, a consortium of federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies. In his budget address Wednesday, Gov. Rendell promised $500,000 in state money for the struggling onetime steel town to help victims and shore up fire and police budgets.

A reward of $20,000 is available for anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction; the tip line for the Coatesville Arson Task Force is 484-356-6109.

Remaining on alert will be the key to ending the attacks, Eggleston said.

"The vigilance of the community is important," he said. "Until the person or persons we know are responsible for this are captured, I'm keeping one eye open."


Contact staff writer Kathy Boccella at 610-313-8123 or kboccella@phillynews.com.

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