Officer Treated After Helping Rescue Couple from PA House Fire

Patrick Buchnowski And David Hurst Pbuchnowski Tribdem Com

The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.


Apr. 5—An Upper Yoder Township police officer was treated for smoke inhalation after rescuing a family from a burning home Saturday in Ferndale — and the cause of the blaze remained under investigation Sunday, fire officials said.

Fire broke out at 5:41 p.m. in a vacant house in the 500 block of Vickroy Avenue.

The fire jumped to the second-floor bedroom of the house next door, which was occupied by a man and woman and their dog, according to Chief Donald Hess, of the Upper Yoder Township Police Department.

“The whole place just went up like that,” neighbor Ray Gorham said, snapping his fingers.

Gorham’s family saw their home’s siding melt due to intense heat damage.

“It could’ve been worse, though,” he said.

Two Upper Yoder Township police officers arrived first and evacuated one neighboring family, Hess said.

Homes on either side of the blaze suffered damage, as did a car parked on the road.

The officer taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Franklin Street was treated in the emergency room for smoke inhalation and later released, the chief said.

As of Sunday, the cause and source of the fire remained under investigation, West Hills fire Chief Rob Tauber said.

Three juveniles were seen running from the fire, Hess said, adding that a fire marshal was also investigating.

Gorham said he’d been airing concerns for the past three years to the borough about the vacant property being “wide open” to intruders. Apparently, the property was abandoned by its owner years prior and is now going through foreclosure, he said.

Firefighters from Upper Yoder Township, Lower Yoder Township, Richland Townships, Riverside, Cover Hill and Johnstown responded, as did EMS crews from Upper Yoder and Conemaugh townships.


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