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A small slice of Americana was targeted earlier this week by an arsonist.
State police and fire crews responded a little after 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, to reports of a fire on the property of Creative Crafts Novelty Store, 125 Reistville Road, Heidelberg Township.
According to a public information report released by Reading-based Pennsylvania State Police Troop L, a novelty statue that had originally been at the Roadside America attraction in Upper Bern Township, Berks County, was found to be on fire.
The statue, depicting a Pennsylvania Dutch man and woman, was purchased by Andrew King after the once-popular, 85-year-old tourist attraction ceased operations in 2020. King moved the statue to Lebanon County less than a year ago.
“We found fire engulfing the top portion of the statue,” said Trooper Janssen Herb, a PSP fire marshal with Troop L, who is investigating this incident. “The blaze was quickly put out.”
The statue is approximately 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide, according to the release.
“There were strong indicators of this fire being intentionally set,” said Herb. “We’re looking at a minimum of $5,000 in damage.”
While there were no injuries reported, the investigation has revealed that parts of the statue were purposefully set ablaze, and the fire damaged a significant portion of the male farmer shown in the statue.
“This would be a felony crime for Pennsylvania,” Herb said. “It’s early in the investigation, but we’re in the process of developing suspects.”
According to a report by WFMZ, King is on the hunt for someone to help him repair the damage to the iconic statue. Interested parties should call Creative Crafts at 717-949-8377.
Herb urged the public to reach out if they have any information about the arson.
“If there is any information you have, no matter how small, give us a call,” Herb said. “Call even if the information seems unimportant to you, because you never know. It might take that one small piece of the puzzle to help us determine what happened.”
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