Uniontown woman dies in fire; Mt. Lebanon firefighters injured in another
Two veteran Mt. Lebanon firefighters were injured Thursday inside a burning home in Dormont, and a Uniontown area woman who was eagerly awaiting her daughter's high school graduation died a few hours earlier in a house fire in Fayette County.
The Mt. Lebanon firefighters — whose names were not released — were taken to UPMC Mercy with injuries suffered when they fell through a hole on the second floor of the home that was being renovated in the 2800 block of Crosby Avenue, deputy Dormont fire Chief Jim Kolesky said.
One — identified only as a deputy fire chief — was admitted to the hospital with rib and knee injuries and a possible bruised lung, said Joe Thuransky, another of Mt. Lebanon's six deputy chiefs. The other firefighter, a lieutenant, was released following treatment, Thuransky said.
“They could not see the hole in the floor because of the thick smoke,” Thuransky said. “They didn't fall all the way through and were helped out of the hole by other firefighters.”
Kolesky said the residents, who are doing the renovations themselves, were not home when the fire started about 10:20 a.m.
It took firefighters from nine departments about four hours to bring the flames under control, Kolesky said.
Investigators are trying to determine what started the blaze, which caused extensive damage to the home, he said.
Sheila Porter, 46, was killed shortly after 8 a.m. in a fast-moving fire that swept through her home in the community of Bitner, about 5 miles north of Uniontown. Her daughter, Valerie Richard, is scheduled to graduate from Uniontown Area High School on June 13.
“Mom was really looking forward to seeing Valerie graduate. But I plan on still being there,” said Porter's son, Brandon Richard, 22, who was asleep when the fire started. Valerie Richard was in school.
“My dog, Baxter, woke me up. He doesn't bark, but he scratched at me to wake me up,” Brandon Richard said.
After looking down the hallway from his second-floor bedroom and seeing smoke and flames, he opened a window and jumped about 10 feet to an attached porch roof, he said. A neighbor helped him get down.
“The way (the fire) was going on that (other) side of the house, there was no way we could get Mom,” Richard said.
Smock fire Chief Tim Kelly said Porter apparently was trying to escape because she was found by the kitchen door.
“We tried a couple times, but we could just not get in. The heat pushed us back,” Kelly said.
The dog also died in the blaze that destroyed the home. A state police fire marshal is trying to determine a cause.
There were no injuries in a two-alarm fire that started about 3:50 p.m. in a vacant three-story building in the 100 block of 43rd Street in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. The roof collapsed during the blaze, she said.
Michael Hasch and Paul Peirce are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this report.
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.
- Pirates rout Cardinals to keep things interesting in NL Central
- LaBar: Best next opponent for Brock Lesnar
- Rams take down TJ in season opener
- BVA breaks in new field by beating Trinity
- Defense sparks Freeport to Allegheny Conference victory over Shady Side Academy
- Clairton picks up where it left off, rout California, 72-0
- Leader Times roundup: Karns City rolls in opener
- Bank of New York Mellon computer glitch examined for harm to investors
- Charleroi can’t survive Scotties’ thunder
- High temperatures, low gas prices could entice 30.4M holiday travelers
- Farmers fear 2nd attack of bird flu