Arsons rock Gold Key

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:08

    DINGMAN - At press time, state police had officially ruled arson in three of five suspicious fires at Gold Key Lake over last four weeks. Authorities predict the last two fires, discovered on consecutive late nights earlier this week, also will be found to have been purposely set. The fires started in homes under construction. Thus far, no injuries have been reported, but some people in the 850-home subdivision are worried. “We’ve got a pyromaniac on the loose in here,” said a homeowner who asked not to be identified. The first fire took place around midnight on June 27 at a new home under construction on Empire Court at East Lake Drive. The Dingman Township Fire Department put the fire out, restricting damage to only one corner of the house. The house was built by Warner Paving and Excavating of Milford. Then on the morning of July 6, shortly after 7 a.m., the same house was set ablaze again. Dingman firefighters responded and were assisted by neighboring fire departments. But this time the home was quickly engulfed in flames and was completely destroyed. Pennsylvania State Police fire marshals investigated the next day, bringing in “arson sniffing dogs” to help them determine the type of accelerant used. The third fire was July 21 - pictured on page 1 - when the Dingman firefighters had to respond to another new home burning on Daisy Court and Ridge Drive, just four blocks away from the first home that was destroyed. The house was being built by Family Homes of Milford. This time, witnesses claimed they saw four youths running from the direction of the 11:30 p.m. fire and through their yard, just before flames were noticed. Dingman firefighters were again assisted by five other fire departments. The flames arose 20 to 30 feet above the two-story home. The heat from the flames was intense and could be felt 75 to 100 feet away from the fire. Within 45 minutes the fire was under control, but not much was left of the house. Additional fires, in the middle of the night on July 25 at about 12:30 a.m., and on the following night, July 26, at about 1 a.m., were spotted by a motorist and a neighbor and quickly controlled, causing only minor damages. There are still 25 to 27 new homes under construction at Gold Key Lake. A special meeting of the development’s property owners’ association has been scheduled for Sunday to address residents’ concerns about the fires. ther fire started in an almost completed new home was spotted. Motorist John Preyer was driving home by North Ridge Drive and Gold Key Roads. He tried to call in the alarm on his cell phone, but could not get a signal. He drove home and finished the alarm call. Dingman Township Fire Department managed to save the house from any major damage. Vannatta Construction of Milford is the builder of this home. On the following night, July 26 at about 1 a.m., a fifth fire at a fourth new home was started at 1034 Tiffany Court, a cul de sac. A neighbor saw an orange glow coming from one of the windows, heard the smoke alarm and called 911. This fire was extinguished quickly by the Dingman firefighters with only minor damages. The house was being built by Milford builder, Ed Nikles.