Antiques lost in Elizabeth Township fire
Smoke still rose from several points of origin a day after a fast-moving fire leveled Earl and Janice Beatty's house at 530 Simpson Howell Road in Elizabeth Township.
“We had a fire about 33 years ago, the same place,” Earl Beatty said on Wednesday from a cousin's home down the hill, where he and his wife are staying. “It was a total loss, too.”
On Wednesday morning, smoke poured from the brick fireplace that remained when the rest of the house and all the couples' possessions inside disintegrated in flames.
“We had a houseful of antiques,” Beatty said. “We lost $100,000 in antiques.”
Some of them were a handmade bow-front dresser from 1856, three “Gone With The Wind” lamps and 250 baby dolls belonging to Janice Beatty that dated back to the 1800s, including a German doll valued at $10,000.
Clarifying an earlier report, Beatty said two dogs did perish in the blaze, though a third was rescued.
“One was a coonhound, the other was a beagle,” Beatty said. “The smoke got to them. I don't think they suffered at all.”
Fire still was burning Wednesday afternoon in what appeared to be a pit to the right of the house. Passersby saw it from along Wolfe Drive, up the hill from Simpson Howell. A tanker truck was called to the scene at 7:45 p.m. to manage hot spots.
“My wife and I are both doing fine,” said Beatty, an auctioneer. “She's OK, she's on the computer.”
Janice Beatty recently was in the hospital for a heart problem. Machines to provide oxygen were in the house at the time of the fire, but Beatty said “they're not the type that blow up.
“It helps you breathe if you need it,” Beatty said. “She hadn't been using it for a month.”
Wind continued to whip up the smoke and brought down a large limb from one of the trees charred amid 3 acres of brush fires also triggered by Tuesday's sudden inferno.
While Allegheny County fire marshals could not be reached for details on Wednesday, Beatty said he believes there was an electrical cause for the fire.
“I think it was a battery charger I had,” the auctioneer said. “I was getting ready to go fishing.”
He said he was charging a boat battery in a shed “jammed full of stuff” when the fire broke out.
A few miles away at Allegheny County Airport, the National Weather Service station measured winds gusting to 22 mph at the hour when that fire forced the Beattys from their home.
As noontime approached on Wednesday, County Airport's anemometer clocked gusts of up to 29 mph. The air temperature was the same as at the time of the fire, 77 degrees.
Among the items that still are visible on the Beatty property are two front-yard plastic posts, marking petroleum pipelines that once were part of a Texas Eastern transmission network.
“It was a good thing there weren't any leaks,” Beatty said, though he stressed there was “no danger,” that the lines were buried 10 feet underground.
The Beattys plan to rebuild.
“I'd like to get a log house,” he said.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, 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.
- Signals out, traffic restrictions remain near Jerome Street Bridge
- Jerome Bridge traffic signals removed in McKeesport
- Motorists, municipalities brace for Mifflin Road closing
- Fire destroys McKeesport garage
- Write-in results set up new races for fall elections
- Homestead Cemetery relief plan on hold
- County aims for a Healthier Allegheny
- Economy growing along region’s trails
- Steel Valley directors approve iPad lease
- Elizabeth volunteer firefighters achieve certifications
- Community gardens in McKeesport, Steel Valley area give options to local growers