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Blind Somerset man burned in apartment fire able to warn neighbors

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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 11:12 p.m.

A blind Somerset man who was burned in an apartment fire on Monday managed to escape, but not before alerting neighbors to flee the building.

Richard Baldridge was burned when a fire broke out at 604 N. Center Ave. just before 8 p.m., Somerset fire Chief Steve Miller said.

Baldridge was treated at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown and released, Miller said.

The fire started in Baldridge's apartment, Miller said.

Baldridge “managed to get out, then went banging on doors” to alert his neighbors of the danger, Miller said.

Firefighters who were first on the scene “did a good job knocking down the blaze with less than 500 gallons of water” until other firefighters arrived, Miller said.

“The building sustained heavy damage,” Miller said. “Flames were coming out of the windows when firefighters arrived.”

Four of the five apartments were occupied at the time of the fire, Miller said.

State police at Somerset said the fire was ruled accidental.

Additional details were not immediately available Tuesday night.

Damage to the building, which is owned by John Coleman, was estimated at $70,000, officials said.

Chuck Brittain is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6675 or

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