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Valley News Dispatch

Stubborn fire destroys Apollo home

Chuck Biedka
| Thursday, June 14, 2018, 1:03 p.m.
Fire crews try to access a house fire along South Fourth Street in Apollo on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Fire crews try to access a house fire along South Fourth Street in Apollo on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
Ralph Carlson, 63, watches firefighters battle a fire at his mother's home along Fourth Street in Apollo on Thursdsay, June 14, 2018. Carlson escaped the blaze after neighbors alerted him to it. His mother is not living at home.
Chuck Biedka | Tribune-Review
Ralph Carlson, 63, watches firefighters battle a fire at his mother's home along Fourth Street in Apollo on Thursdsay, June 14, 2018. Carlson escaped the blaze after neighbors alerted him to it. His mother is not living at home.
Britney Cole Mordan (left) and Jessica Venrun (right) console Amber Carlson (center) as they watch Carlson's grandmother's home in Apollo burn on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Britney Cole Mordan (left) and Jessica Venrun (right) console Amber Carlson (center) as they watch Carlson's grandmother's home in Apollo burn on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
Firefighters attack the fire at 413 Fourth Street in Apollo from the rear of the home on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Firefighters attack the fire at 413 Fourth Street in Apollo from the rear of the home on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Fire crews from two counties spent hours battling a stubborn house fire in Apollo Thursday.

The fire of unknown origin destroyed the house at 313 South Fourth St., but a man was able to escape the blaze without injury thanks to his neighbors.

Ralph Carlson, 63, whose mother owns house, was inside, said his sister Patty Campbell.

"He's OK," she said. "Thank God."

Ralph Carlson said he was trying to fix up his mother's house so she could come home from a nursing home.

"I heard a bang and smelled smoke," Carlson said.

"I was walking to the kitchen to see where the fire was and I just started to go upstairs when I heard someone pounding on may door, telling me to get out," he said.

Carlson, who said he is receiving cardiac care, said he was checked out by one of the numerous paramedics at the scene.

There were no injuries reported from the fire.

"Grandma's house is gone," lamented Carlson's niece, Amber Carlson. "So many memories."

Armstrong County 911 said an unidentified man called in to tell them about the fire. The man said he saw windows blow out from the house and there was a lot of smoke.

The fire first was reported just after 11 a.m. The flames were shooting out the roof and attic windows at by 12:30 p.m. Crews battling the fire from inside the home then were ordered to evacuate because the home's roof was in danger of collapsing. By 1 p.m. part of the roof did collapsed into the older wood-frame house as winds fanned the flames, blowing embers onto nearby homes.

Firefighters, though, were able to contain the fire and kept it from spreading.

Thick smoke from the blaze could be seen from miles away.

The fire was out at 4:20 p.m. but units were mopping up into the evening.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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