Cause of N. Versailles fire a mystery
By Eric Slagle
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 3:51 a.m.
Investigators are trying to determine what started a fire in an unoccupied house in North Versailles Township late Monday morning.
Damage to the single-story brick structure along East Street was “pretty significant,” Fire Department of North Versailles Chief Mike Volpe said.
“The whole first floor collapsed down in on it,” the chief said.
No one was hurt in the blaze, which authorities said may have started in the basement of the home.
“Right now the (Allegheny County) fire marshal is looking into it,” Volpe said.
The fire was reported at about 10:30 a.m. and it took crews about 90 minutes to bring it under control.
Volpe said firefighters used a defensive approach because the house was unoccupied.
A resident who lives across the street said that house and two others along the street have been unoccupied for years. The neighbor said someone periodically would look in on the property.
Volpe said the house wasn't empty but it wasn't clear how long it had been since someone had lived there.
It was difficult to see the house from the street because of overgrown trees. Snow and cold temperatures provided an added challenge for fire crews.
North Huntingdon EMS Rescue set up a warming tent at the fire scene and a Port Authority bus was brought in to provide a warming place for first responders.
In addition to township departments, firefighters from North Braddock, Swissvale, Wilmerding, East McKeesport, Turtle Creek, Monroeville, Pitcairn and Glassport responded.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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