Brother, sister escape fire, but Murrysville home severely damaged
Flames ravaged a Murrysville house Monday afternoon, destroyedmany historic artifacts, and forced a brother and sister from their home.
Carl Patty, president of the Murrysville Historical Preservation Society, was treated for a hand injury. His sister, Shelby, also was checked at a local hospital even as the thick black and gray smoke column towered more than 100 feet into the frigid air.
Their beagle-mix, Snoopy, was being checked by a veterinarian Monday night, too.
Murrysville fire Chief Al Dover said that house at 4199 Logan Ferry Road was destroyed. A state police deputy fire marshal was scheduled on Tuesday to investigate the fire's cause.
A damage estimate wasn't available.
Patty collected historical artifacts, including guns, furs, and historical books and documents. He regularly hosts historical presentations throughout the community.
Jackie Stemfer, secretary of the historical society, said his private collection likely is destroyed, including a large amount of Murrysville history.
The fire broke out at about 3:20 p.m. It took about two hours to extinguish, and crews spent several more hours there in an attempt to prevent the rubble from rekindling.
Logan Ferry Road was blocked well into Monday night, and firefighters were called back to the scene shortly after 10:30 p.m.
Soon after the fire started, small explosions were reported when ammunition cooked off inside the house.
“There was no natural-gas explosion,” Dover said.
Firefighters from seven companies had to lay nearly half a mile of hose to deliver water from a hydrant to the house. They also used tanker trucks.
The volunteers were hampered for a while by a live electrical wire that fell from a transformer.
Snow and ice, along with temperatures that started at about 20 degrees and dipped much colder after sunset, also were challenges.
“Once the power line was down, we could move in safely to reach the house. Sadly, it's probably going to be a total loss,” Dover said.
“But the people didn't receive serious injuries, and no firefighters have been hurt,” he said at about 6 p.m.
Karen Tribou, owner of the nearby Plumline Nurseries, said she didn't hear any explosions.
“I just heard sirens, and I'm relieved that they're OK,” she said, about the residents. “They are really nice people who have lived here a long time.”
She said Carl Patty is a retired postal employee. Even after Carl Patty and his sister were taken to a hospital just after 4 p.m., Snoopy ran up and down the ice-slicked driveway and refused to walk to firefighters. After about 90 minutes, the shivering dog was caught and brought up the hill in a sled-like rescue basket pulled by Plum ambulance personnel.
An emergency medical technician comforted the dog as she was put in an ambulance to be warmed before being taken to a veterinarian to be checked.
The hydrant hose was turned off at about 5:30 p.m., and volunteer firefighters from numerous companies started the arduous task of rolling up more than 1,000 feet of fire hose before returning them to their respective fire houses to dry out.
“We'll have a late night,” Monroeville No. 5 Deputy Chief G. Fred Gerstacker said.
Daveen Rae Kurutz contributed to this story. Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
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.