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Chimney fire spreads to attic of Unity residence

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 1:01 a.m.



Chimney fire spreads to attic of residence

A chimney fire that spread to the attic caused moderate damage to a single-family home in Unity on Monday night.

Youngstown fire Chief Barry Banker said the 6:21 p.m. fire at 139 Beacon Light Road appeared to have begun in a fireplace chimney and spread into a wall and the attic.

He said residents Nathan Black, Kayla Brooks and a child were able to evacuate the house safely and were staying with nearby relatives.

Banker said firefighters from several companies responded to the scene and were able to knock down the fire quickly.

The house had a false ceiling and several additions, Banker said, requiring firefighters to remain on the scene for about three hours. The extensive overhaul was necessary to ensure all hot spots were extinguished, he said.

The house remained standing, with extensive damage in the wall and the living room area where the fireplace stood, Banker said.

The remainder of the residence sustained some smoke damage, with water damage in the top floor



Former row office candidate arrested

A former candidate for a Westmoreland County row office was jailed Tuesday for failing to appear for a common pleas court hearing on theft charges last month.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Roland J. Martino, 63, who ran a notary office on Mt. Pleasant Street in Greensburg, failed to appear for a theft hearing before Judge Al Bell on Dec. 18 and a bench warrant was issued.

State police accused Martino of failing to turn over fees to the state for vehicle ownership transfers and failing to file required documents with PennDOT in 2011.

Martino was to appear for a plea hearing and agree to pay the victims about $255 in restitution on Dec. 18, but he did not show up for the hearing.

Martino unsuccessfully ran for recorder of deeds as a Democratic candidate in 2003 and again in 2011.


Man accused of threats to trooper

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday for a Delmont man accused of posting threats on Facebook against a state trooper who arrested him on drug charges last summer.

Andrew L. Fulton, 29, of 223 David Drive, was charged by state police at Kiski with harassment and making terrorist threats against Trooper David Williams.

“I want to hurt Williams with a gun. I will kill him,” Fulton allegedly posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

Cpl. Kenneth Stapchuck alleges in the affidavit of probable cause that police learned of the alleged threats from a tipster.

According to Stapchuck, Williams had arrested Fulton on minor drug charges on July 24.

A Facebook friend of Fulton asked him on the social networking site on Jan. 8 who Williams is, and Fulton wrote, “State Cop who gave me felony charges,” Stapchuck reported in the affidavit filed before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak

Stapchuk said the threats against Williams have since been deleted from the site.

The drug possession charge against Fulton is pending.


PennDOT to start Route 30 project

PennDOT District 12 officials are warning Route 30 motorists of upcoming traffic delays as utilities are relocated between Possum Hollow Road and the Toll Route 66 interchange in Hempfield.

The work is expected to begin shortly.

“We did the preparation work during the night, but we felt we should warn motorists of the utility relocation work including water line installation and fiber optic cable placement,” said PennDOT District 12 spokeswoman Valerie Petersen.

Motorists who travel the 1 12 mile section may notice that utility relocation is beginning along the established work zone area. The water line installation and fiber optic cable placement will be done by the same contractor who won the contract for the road-widening project, Frank Zottola Construction of Valencia.

Petersen said motorists may not be able to tell the difference between PennDOT's ongoing work on the $10 million road-widening project and the separate utility project except that utility work is allowed during daylight hours.

She said the 36,000 motorists who travel the stretch of road in a 24-hour period should plan for potential delays.

Once the utilities are relocated, Zottola will resume most of the widening work between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Work is to be completed by October.

Allegheny County

Transit advocates begin push for funding

Transit advocates began a campaign on Tuesday to press state leaders for increased funding for Port Authority of Allegheny County service.

“The funding announced last year (to avert 35 percent service cuts) was just a temporary fix. We need a permanent solution,” said Helen Gerhardt, spokeswoman for Pittsburghers for Public Transit, after a Downtown news conference.

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to disclose his plan to boost state transportation funding on Thursday. Officials have said close to $2 billion could come from lifting a cap on the oil franchise tax that gas wholesalers pay.

Gerhardt said her group aims to boost funding over the next several weeks, culminating with a Feb. 11 rally in Harrisburg.

PWSA gets loans for infrastructure fixes

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority approved more than $7 million in low-interest loans that will help the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reduce water main breaks and discharges of raw sewage into creeks and streams.

Gov. Tom Corbett said on Tuesday that PWSA will receive $2.89 million to replace about 75 valves and install 25 fire hydrants throughout its water system. Another $4.1 million will go to sewage improvements to help eliminate discharges during wet weather.

The authority is under a federal court mandate to drastically reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into waterways during heavy rain. PWSA engineers estimate the costs, which could include installing bigger pipes and a 6-million gallon holding tank, will run from $100 million to $200 million. The state awarded $82 million in loans and grants for five counties.

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