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New Kensington house fire caused modest damage

| Thursday, May 8, 2014, 5:24 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington No. 5 firefighter John George knocks down flames as crews begin to make an attack on a house fire at 46 Robinson St. in New Kensington on Thursday, May 8, 2014.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington No. 3 Asst. Chief Denny Remich salvages items for the home owner after a fire at 46 Robinson St. in New Kensington on Thursday, May 8, 2014.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington No. 5 engineer Frank Lemon IV begins to make an attack on a house fire at 46 Robinson St. in New Kensington on Thursday, May 8, 2014.

Glenn King watched in dismay on Thursday afternoon as firefighters extinguished the flames in the New Kensington house he's owned for about three months.

“I've been fixing it up,” King said. “Everything upstairs was new. The electrical, the insulation.”

King said he was outside working in his backyard about 4:20 p.m. when he saw smoke from beneath the eaves of his 1½-story bungalow at 46 Robinson St. in the city's Valley Camp neighborhood.

His neighbor, Terry McClain, was working outside when he heard King shout for help.

They and others used garden hoses to water down the house until firefighters arrived a few minutes later.

“We couldn't see any flames, but the house was engulfed in smoke,” McClain said. “It was pitch black inside.”

New Kensington Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. said the fire largely was limited to one room on the main floor.

“That first crew in did one hell of a job,” Saliba said.

He said there appeared to be no structural damage that would prevent King from restoring the house.

King said he and his girlfriend, Ann Hoffman, have insurance.

Saliba said the fire does not appear to be suspicious, but a state police fire marshal was called to investigate. A cause was not available on Thursday evening.

King was the only person home when the fire began, and no one was injured, though he was evaluated by paramedics at the scene.

King rested in the shade of a flowering dogwood tree across the street while Hoffman searched for their cat, Shadow, who hid when firefighters arrived.

He said Hoffman's daughter, Danielle McCutcheon, had lived in the house for about seven years before King and Hoffman moved in.

Saliba said the family was lucky no windows were open on the warm, windy day. “That fire would've got a lot more oxygen, and it would've been much worse.”

McClain said his home, which sits only a few feet from King's, was not damaged.

“He was so proud of the (remodeling) work they'd done,” McClain said of King. “You feel terrible. But everything that's in there can be replaced.”

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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