Fire destroys home in Monessen
By Jeremy Sellew and Rick Bruni Jr.
Published: Monday, July 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Four Monessen residents were forced from their homes after a Sunday morning fire destroyed one house and severely damaged another on the 400 block of Second Street.
A state police fire marshal could not determine the cause as of Sunday evening, according to Monessen Municipal Fire Chief Delmar Hepple. He said initial witness accounts indicated the fire started on the second floor of a two-story home at 417 Second St. The structure eventually collapsed into its foundation.
Hepple said the call came at 2:44 a.m. Sunday for a home occupied by Nikkia Jones and her 9-year-old daughter. Neither was home at the time, Hepple said, adding the daughter was at an all-night skate.
Jones told fire officials she had left the house around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The fire spread next door to the attic of 415 Second St., where Monessen police officers Jimmy Franks and Carl Fronzaglio pounded on the door to awake residents Larry and Tammy Jones, who quickly evacuated.
“From what I saw when we got there, the fire had a pretty good head start,” Hepple said. “We did what we could do to try and keep it from extending, but it had already gotten into the eaves and the attic before we even established water.”
Firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours, dousing hot spots from above and around the structures before bringing the flames under control, Hepple said. The Authority of the Borough of Charleroi was called to boost water pressure of hydrants.
Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services set up a center with cooling fans and liquids and treated nearly two dozen firefighters for dehydration and heat. None was injured.
Responding were Monessen No. 1 and 2, Rostraver No. 1, Donora and Lock Four fire companies. Crews from Charleroi and North Belle Vernon were called off stand-bye and rushed to the scene. Belle Vernon and Roscoe fire departments remained on stand-bye.
Monessen firefighters did not clear the scene until 10:30 a.m. Sunday, but were recalled less than two hours later when windy conditions caused a rekindle of flames under the piles of debris.
Another house at 209 Knox Ave., located behind Nikkia Jones' residence, sustained water damage, Hepple said.
Jones and her daughter are staying with relatives, while Larry and Tammy Jones were put up at local hotel by the American Red Cross, according to Hepple. It is not known whether the victims are related.
A dog owned by Nikkia Jones remains missing and officials are uncertain if it perished in the fire or ran off. Another dog owned by Larry and Tammy Jones is being given temporary shelter by the Westmoreland County Animal Response Team.
Hepple said it is fortunate Nikkia Jones and her daughter were not home at the time, saying the fire acted “like it was alive.”
“If they'd have been home in bed,” Hepple said, “it might have been a different story.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635. Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
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.
- St. Molokai parish ruling imminent
- Charges mounting in Monessen drug case
- 4 Donora men to stand trial for Rostraver hotel incident
- Monessen teen in court for drug charges
- Cal U offers military personnel, families discounted online rates
- Pa. health secretary to tour SPHS facility
- Finleyville Food Pantry always in need of donations, volunteers
- Ringgold state cash decision can wait
- Women’s group offers Monongahela Valley patients ‘Gift of Warmth’
- Prevention key to heart health, Monongahela Valley cardiologist explains
- Belle Vernon students ready for the big show