Several blazes reported at residences on Saturday.
Authorities are investigating as suspicious several recent fires in Erie, including a blaze late Saturday night that gutted an occupied two-unit apartment house.
The cause of the fire at 2645 Cochran St., which was reported on Saturday at about 10:35 p.m., is still under investigation, Erie Fire Inspector Mark Polanski said Monday.
But he said the cause is being investigated as suspicious, which Fire Chief Guy Santone confirmed. Fire investigators from the Erie Bureau of Police are involved in the investigation, Polanski said.
The fire appears to have started in a front bedroom of the first-floor apartment and extended throughout the structure, Polanski said.
Firefighters were initially told that people might be trapped inside, but officials quickly determined that no one was in the two apartments. Crews found heavy fire coming out of the front on the first and second floors when they arrived and shortly after firefighters were pulled out of the building because of the rapid development of the fire, Acting Deputy Fire Chief Fred Gillespie said Saturday night.
The apartment house is a total loss, Santone said.
Erie fire inspectors and city police are also investigating as suspicious three small fires that were reported at a residence in the 1100 block of West 20th Street on Saturday. The fires involved mattresses and a couch and were reported at 12:37 a.m., 2:18 a.m. and 6:12 p.m., Santone said.
There were no injuries and no property damage other than to the items that caught fire, Santone said.
Investigators are also probing as suspicious a fire that was reported on Thursday at about 9:45 p.m. at a vacant house in the 500 block of East 25th Street. The fire started in the basement and was mostly contained to that area, Polanski said. The house has no utilities and has been vacant for about a year, he said.
The cause of another fire on Saturday appears to be electrical in nature, Polanski said.
That fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. at a residence at 201 Hillcrest Ave. The fire broke out in a room of the one-story house and was confined to the room, although there was fire damage to the side of the house and smoke damage throughout, Polanski said. There were no injuries in the fire, he said.
That fire remains under investigation.
Tim Hahn can be reached at 870-1731 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNhahn.