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Officials Investigate String Of House Fires On Same Chester Street

By Walt Hunter

CHESTER, Pa., (CBS) -- Officials in Chester are pressing their search for answers as they look into three "suspicious" fires in the past five days that have caused heavy damage to half a dozen homes and driven 28 people from their houses.

Chester's Mayor, Fire and Police Commissioners gathered with neighbors and reporters in the 400 block of Bickley Street, asking them to report anything suspicious immediately, and promising that more officers would be assigned to patrol the block.

So far, investigators say, they don't have enough evidence to label the fires as "arsons" or to speculate on any possible motive.

Neighbors say they are living in fear, some children afraid to go to sleep.

Firefighters Gordon Pippin and Matt Hand, along with other members of Chester's Station 82, say they were exhausted after fighting the three fires, Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, but gratified they could keep flames from doing any more damage and prevent anyone from being hurt.

Pippin says after leaving the first fire he found a hand-written note from a neighbor inside his helmet which he had left on a truck.

The note read, in part, "you are dedicated and an awesome person. You all are truly amazing. Keep up the good work. It was signed with x's and o's for kisses and hugs from "a truly  inspired civilian."

Firefighters went "door to door" along the block Friday afternoon, checking for smoke detectors and taking note of where elderly or others who might have trouble escaping a fire reside.






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