ShareThis Page

Donora woman dies in fire

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 12:11 a.m.
Rick Bruni Jr. | The Valley Independent
Gelinda Giles, 52, of Donora, was found dead in her home at 1323 Fayette St., after firefighters responded there when a blaze broke out at 3 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.

A Donora woman's body was found by firefighters battling an early Sunday morning fire in her home, but authorities were still determining cause of death and how the blaze started.

After responding to the call around 3 a.m., firefighters found Gelinda “Gigi” Giles, 52, in the second floor of her residence at 1323 Fayette St. Giles was a longtime bus driver for the Ringgold School District.

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco said in a release that the cause of her death was pending. Other details were not released.

State police fire marshal Sean Jones had not determined cause of the fire as of press time Sunday night. Donora police Superintendent James Brice said there was no sign of foul play and Donora fire Chief Patsy Vince did not return two phone messages left Sunday.

Donora Patrolman William Dennison suffered a minor shoulder injury while attempting to enter the residence.

The first level of Giles' house was completely charred. A burnt couch stood alone Sunday in the front yard of the property.

Next-door neighbor Belinda Kuskie said she awoke around 3 a.m. Sunday, went downstairs and smelled smoke. Kuskie said she looked outside and saw white smoke pouring out Giles' rooftop.

Kuskie said she called 911 to report the fire, then rushed over and pounded on Giles' door.

“I didn't hear anybody and I couldn't get in, so I went to the next-door neighbor's house and I banged on their doors to see if they could help,” Kuskie said. “When I came from the neighbor's, that's when I saw the fire shooting out the kitchen window.”

Giles lived alone, she said.

“This is very sad, very sad,” she said. “I couldn't get her. I tried.”

Giles made headlines in 2010, when she tried navigating snow-and-ice-covered roads in an attempt to get her pregnant daughter, Questa, to McGee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Acting on the advice of a 911 operator, they pulled their vehicle into the Blue Flame restaurant parking lot along state Route 51 in Jefferson Hills.

With the help of borough police, the baby girl was born on the front seat of Gelinda Giles' car.

Ringgold Superintendent Dr. Karen Polkabla said Giles will be missed.

“I'd say she's been driving for us for at least 20 years. She was a wonderful person and she did keep a tightly-run bus,” Polkabla said. “Gigi was a special, special person.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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.