New Kensington couple escape fire
By Tom Yerace
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
A New Kensington couple escaped serious injury when a minor explosion caused a fire in their basement Tuesday.
Paulette McCarthy said she and her husband, Thomas, were watching TV on the first floor of their house at 201 Pershing Ave. when the incident occurred about 8:15 p.m.
Pointing to some windows, Paulette McCarthy said: “We were sitting in this room watching TV and we heard a loud ‘pop.' We looked downstairs and saw all this smoke.”
She said her husband went downstairs and found a basket of Christmas decorations on fire next to a small table where a laptop computer was sitting.
He took the basket into a basement bathroom and put in the shower stall and she turned the water on it in an attempt to extinguish it.
Paulette McCarthy was forced back up to the first floor by heavy smoke. She said her husband became temporarily disoriented in the thick smoke but managed to escape through a basement back door.
Police Sgt. Sam Long said the McCarthys were outside the house when they arrived. Long said Thomas McCarthy was taken to West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, by ambulance, but he did not appear to have life-threatening injuries.
Paulette McCarthy said, “I just think that he swallowed a lot of smoke.”
New Kensington Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. said ambulance personnel told him that McCarthy, 62, was not burned.
“I guess he is going to stay overnight for observation, “ Saliba said.
Saliba estimated the damage to the house at roughly $20,000 to $25,000. He said there was smoke damage throughout the house, minimal water damage to the first floor but considerable smoke, water and fire damage to the basement. Saliba said there did not appear to be major structural damage.
“The bathroom in the basement was completely gutted,” Saliba said. “It got into the shower, into the joists under the first floor, and there's electrical conduit there and it just followed it up into a wall on the first floor.”
Asked if the laptop's battery may have exploded, causing the ‘pop' the McCarthys heard, Saliba said he was not sure. A state police fire marshal has been summoned to determine the cause, although Saliba believes it was accidental.
About 40 to 45 firefighters from New Kensington Fire Companies 4, 2 and 1 and Lower Burrell No. 3 responded. They were on the scene until 9:50 p.m.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Just-acquired tract eyed as commercial site
- Cool chemistry: Programs at Springdale library take inspiration from late science professor
- 1 remains in hospital after knife fight in New Kensington apartment
- Tax law proves its worth by bringing in lost revenue
- Instagram builds Oakmont barber’s rep for innovative cuts, ‘hair tattooing’
- Winfield Road bridge replacement to begin in 2015
- Battle of Fort Hand 235th anniversary to open window into frontier life
- Verona moves toward residential recycling plan
- Avonmore parents enter disabled child in contest for wheelchair-accessible van
- New Kensington-Arnold lays groundwork for school consolidation
- Kiski Valley native in wheelchair persists to save life, forge bond