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Fire Weakens Apartment Building

A vacant apartment building that burned early Monday morning will have to be demolished.

Investigators said  an electrical problem caused the blaze in Pottsville.

The  apartment building is on East Market street and has six units. The fire raced through the building and made it to the roof.

The fire weakened the structure and city officials want it torn down.

Neighbors, including John Kutch and his wife, Pat,  are not surprised by the fire.

"We seen the flames coming out of the roof and they were pretty bad and a lot of smoke a lot of smoke," John Kutch said.

Pat Kutch said the fire scared her. "We had just DVR'd "Backdraft" and we were watching it last evening and it was ironic that and we had a fire in the city. It was very scary. These structures are very old and I was concerned the whole block would go," said Pat Kutch.

Fire Chief Todd March blames a problem in an electrical box for the stubborn blaze.

Cleaning Up a Vandal's Work

Volunteers came together Friday in Schuylkill County to clean a mess vandals left behind.

It took a lot to get rid of the graffiti that was spray-painted on some of the walls of the YMCA in Tamaqua.

A group of volunteers armed with paint, gloves and some elbow grease got right to work. Their job was to paint over the graffiti which was all over the place in the rear of the YMCA in Tamaqua. Some of the graffiti took some time to paint.

"Try not to do it on property, try it somewhere else, like a wall in their house, the basement, so a design or something instead of public property," said volunteer Laurie Campomizzi.

"They obviously have talent. It's too bad they can't put it to better use," said volunteer Gary Wetterau. "There are some talented people, they can do some stuff but why ruin things for people when you can create something, it doesn't make sense to me."

Cable TV Outage

About 6,500 cable customers lost television service this week in part of Schuylkill County.

The outage began early Thursday morning, and for some, service is still on the fritz.

Officials of Service Electric Cablevision in Mahanoy City said their phones have been jammed.

An estimated 6,500 homes and businesses lost TV service beginning early Thursday morning.

It affected the Frackville and Mahanoy City area. The technical problem happened as the cable TV company was making changes, including the channel line up.

"Some of the converter boxes are not talking back to us so we're going on a case by case and hitting every one of these homes making sure that it's working as customers call us in here or email us," explained Tim Trently of Service Electric Cablevision.

Searching for Missing Man in Schuylkill County

A family in Schuylkill County is searching for a relative who disappeared three weeks ago.

Jessica Reinhard is James Harig's sister. She said the emotion is intense, the concern is real, the fear unnerving.

"We're really scared, we're really scared. I do, I do love him. We just lost our father last year and I don't want to lose a brother," Reinhard said.

Family, friends and first responders are searching Sharp Mountain near Pottsville for 26 year old Harig. 

His mother, Bernadette Harig, said her son  was last seen several weeks ago.

"He was with two friends and said this looks like a good place to get lost and he walked off into the woods and we haven't seen him since," Bernadette Harig said.

Linda Fanelli, Harig's aunt, helped in the search. "I actually pray that I don't find him, that he is at someone's house and we haven't heard for him in a while,"Fanelli said.

Vandalism at Tamaqua YMCA

A senseless act. That's what a non-profit group in Schuylkill County is calling vandalism that showed up on the YMCA in Tamaqua.

Some members at the "Y" were not aware of the vandalism because it is on the rear of the building. It seems no matter where you look you can see the names and designs made by someone armed with several cans of spray paint.

"Y" members and officials called it a senseless crime.

"I think it's pretty sad that there are people that were that bored and they find joy in ruining other people's property," said Nick Zigmant.

"It's a shame. It's a good place to come to and they do a lot for the community and you got to wonder what goes through these kids' heads these days. Don't go out and deface, it come out and do something for them. Come out and play basketball or something you know," said George Huynh of Coaldale.

Volunteer Firefighter Charged in Garage Fire

State police said Friday they have arrested a firefighter in Schuylkill County who admitted to setting a fire, but the arson problem in Auburn has not gone away.

After the firefighter was in custody, someone else set another fire.

David Berk, 19, an Auburn firefighter, has admitted that he is an arsonist. He is in the Schuylkill County jail.

Police said Berk is responsible for setting a garage on fire last week.

According to arrest papers, Berk set the fire, returned to his house, watched the fire for awhile. Realizing that no one was turning in an alarm he had a family member call 911. Berk then went to the fire station and returned to fight the fire.

"I know that people are up in arms and scared because of the fires and hopefully they got the guy that did it and things return to normal," said fire victim Doug Naftzinger.

Fire at Vacant House Ruled Arson

A fire that a vacant house in Auburn last week was intentionally set, according to police.

Investigators said someone torched the back porch of the house on the 400 block of Washington Street.

No one was hurt.

It was the second arson in Auburn this month. The first fire destroyed a garage.  A volunteer firefighter has been charged with that fire.