Woman dies in Kittanning house fire
Sharon K. Mangus, 54, died alongside her dog when a fire broke out Tuesday night and destroyed the two-story Kittanning house she shared with her friend, Russell Anderson.
Anderson, who owns the home at 1350 Sirwell St., escaped the fire and was taken to Armstrong County Memorial Hospital before being moved to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh to receive treatment for smoke inhalation and burns, said Mangus's niece, Amanda Bure, who lives a few houses away.
Bure was visibly shaken as she stood in the muddy street looking at the smoldering ruins of the home where her aunt had lived and died. Smoke hung over Sirwell Street as she stared at the melted green siding sagging from the charred frame of the house, and Anderson's wheelchair tipped on its side on the lawn.
Late Tuesday, Bure saw neighborhood children rush over to help Anderson as he crawled away to safety before the fire escalated and the roof collapsed.
“I saw flames through the whole house,” she said. “I didn't know if my aunt was even in the house.”
Bure said that firefighters told her it appeared her aunt's Labrador retriever, Missy, died trying to save her master.
“They said it looked like Missy was trying to drag my aunt out of the house,” she said.
Mangus was found dead of smoke inhalation in the living room of the home, said Armstrong County Coroner Brian K. Myers. Kittanning Hose Company 6 fire Chief Scott Kline said Mangus was covered with debris from the home and the remains of Missy when she was found. Four other dogs living in the house have not been found.
Mangus had no children and had never been married. Bure said her aunt and Anderson — who is on oxygen and requires a wheelchair to get around — were friends who took care of one another. Anderson lived on the ground floor and Mangus lived upstairs.
Bure became aware of the fire when she heard three loud popping noises and went outside to investigate shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. But she wouldn't learn of the fate of her aunt until the next morning.
“My aunt was a really nice, kind woman,” Bure said. “She would always help out as much as she could.”
The state police fire marshal's office is investigating to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.