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18th arson of the year burns in Pennsylvania town

  • Story Highlights
  • Back porch fire is ruled an arson in Coatesville, Pennsylvania
  • The town, population 11,000, has had 18 arsons so far this year
  • At least 30 fires were deliberately set in the town in 2008 and 2009
  • Fire swept through 15 Coatesville homes the weekend of January 24-25
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(CNN) -- A fire on the back porch of a home in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was the town's 18th arson fire of the year, authorities determined Wednesday morning.

Last weekend, a huge fire spread through more than a dozen homes outside Philadelphia, authorities said.

The latest in a string of arson fires was quickly extinguished on a back porch of this Coatesville house.

John Hageman from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the small fire broke out about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday in the eastern Pennsylvania town.

Four other fires were deliberately set Saturday in neighboring communities in surrounding Chester County, according to the ATF.

They were ignited on the front and side porches of homes, officials said.

None of the homes was completely lost, Hageman said.

The Coatesville arsons have received national attention.

At least 30 fires have been deliberately set in Coatesville in 2008 and 2009. Of those, more than half have occurred in the past four weeks.

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The string of arson fires has rattled residents, who have demanded action from City Hall and fire officials.

A county task force is investigating the arsons and looking into other fires near Coatesville, which is about 40 miles west of Philadelphia.

Fire swept through 15 homes in the town during the weekend of January 24 and 25, authorities said. Coatesville has a population of about 11,000.

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