Share This Page

Man killed, 2 hurt in New Brighton house fire

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 6:45 a.m.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Fire investigators sift through the ashes Thursday morning, June 13, 2013, at the scene of a deadly house fire in the 600 block of Eighth Avenue in New Brighton, Beaver County.

A New Brighton man died early Thursday trying to rescue the family dog from his burning home.

“I just can't believe he's gone,” Amy Winters said of Shawn Moulter, her childhood friend. “He was such a fun-loving guy — would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. This is devastating to us.”

Moulter, who would have celebrated his 36th birthday on Sunday, and the dog were found dead in a second-floor bedroom of the 8th Street home.

New Brighton fire Chief Jeff Bolland said the smell of smoke awoke Moulter's fiancée, who was not identified, shortly before 4:30 a.m. She and the couple's 4-year-old daughter escaped the home.

“My understanding is that she woke him up and said the house was on fire,” Bolland said. “He told her to get the baby and get out of the house, I'm going to get the dog and I'll be right behind you.”

Moulter's fiancée had first- and second-degree burns to her right arm, and the 4-year-old experienced smoke inhalation, Bolland said. Both were taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital, Uptown. Neighbors said the dog was a pit bull named Amber.

“Shawn was all about his children, he lived for them,” said Melissa Milnes, 32, who lives around the corner and has known Moulter for nine years. “He was great with kids. My 8-year-old daughter would wait for him to come home from work and run up here to see him, and then get all shy when he talked to her. I don't know how we're going to tell her about this.”

Moulter has a 16-year-old daughter who lives with her mother, Winters said.

The state police fire marshal is investigating. Neighbors said they thought the fire started by a lightning strike during heavy storms that rolled through the region early on Thursday.

Bolland said lightning is not being ruled out as a cause.

“We have to examine all the evidence before a determination can be made, but it's a possibility, “ the chief said. “That house was struck about 10 years ago.”

Friends said the family had been renting the house for about two years with plans to buy it.

Lightning also was believed to have caused a fire early Thursday at a three-story home on Woodbine Drive in Cranberry, according to fire Chief Brian Kovac.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 a.m. and caused extensive damage to the top floor and attic, Kovac said. A woman and her two adult children were able to escape without injury.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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.