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ATF Probes Pa. Fire Dept. Fires

October 30, 2002

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ISABELLA, Pa. (AP) _ A volunteer fire department is under federal investigation for two fires that destroyed its social hall and an antique fire engine, the department’s lawyer confirms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has seized records from the Isabella Volunteer Fire Department, attorney Philip Fabiano told the Greensburg Tribune-Review.

``It’s ludicrous to say that they all conspired to burn it down,″ Fabiano said.

ATF representatives refused to comment.

State police investigators said the June 26 and June 30 fires were suspicious.

The department is seeking $500,000 from the Selective Insurance Group of New Jersey.

Fabiano confirmed that the department increased its coverage about six months before the fires, but said an insurance agent recommended the change.

Selective Insurance confirmed the company is investigating. Spokeswoman Sharon Cooper declined to comment further.

The department’s fire equipment is housed in a separate building.

Isabella is on the Monongahela River about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh.

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