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Brothers escape Arnold house fire

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By Chuck Biedka

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:15 a.m.

Two brothers were able to get out of their burning house at 1725 Kenneth Ave., Arnold, on Wednesday morning.

The fire, whose origin wasn't immediately known, damaged an upstairs bedroom in the home owned by Roger and Wayne Burkett.

The fire caused about $60,000 in damage to the building and its contents, Arnold fire Chief J.C. Tedorsky said.

A deputy state fire marshal was conducting a routine investigation.

“I was asleep upstairs,” said Roger Burkett, 62. “I woke up and couldn't see. There was smoke. It smelled electrical. I called for my brother downstairs and got up, and we left.”

He said he and his 64-year-old brother got out just before 9 a.m.

Firefighters kept flames from damaging houses on either side of the gray-sided, two-story house 10 doors away from Holy Virgin Orthodox Church.

“We've been remodeling the house,” Roger Burkett said.

The brothers were staying at a sister's house across the street. The American Red Cross is assisting, Tedorsky said.

“The crews made an excellent stop,” the chief said. “The crew was very quick and efficient” in keeping flames away from houses on either side.

Tedorsky said Arnold, New Kensington, a Tarentum unit and Lower Burrell No. 3 firefighters and ambulance units responded.

Next-door neighbor Joycelyn Williams, 18, had just gotten to sleep after driving her mother to work in Plum 30 minutes earlier when she heard fire alarms and then a police officer knocking on her door.

“I got my dad up, and we got the dog and we got out,” she said.

The Burketts' house has caught fire before. A lunchtime fire on Nov. 16, 2007, damaged an upstairs bedroom.

Roger Burkett said he was told the 2007 fire was caused by a faulty indoor heater.

Wednesday's fire was largely out in about 30 minutes, but firefighters spent much of the morning looking for hot spots.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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