Share This Page

Couple saved from Monessen house fire

| Monday, July 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Courtesy photo
Fire crews from around the Mon Valley were called to this house fire on the 400 block of Second Street in Monessen on Sunday, July 14, 2013.
Jeremy Sellew / The Valley Independent
Seven local fire departments were called to a house fire on the 400 block of Second Street in Monessen on Sunday, July 14, 2013. The house next door also fell victim to the flames.

Monessen police were credited with saving the lives of a couple who were asleep while their house was burning early Sunday as a result of a fire that destroyed their neighbor's home.

Chief Delmar Hepple said Monessen police officers awakened Larry and Tammy Jones, who were sleeping at 2:50 a.m. as their house at 415 Second St. was burning around them. The Joneses' home caught fire from a blaze that had engulfed Nakia Merritt's residence at 417 Second St., Hepple said.

“They beat on the Joneses' door and got them up,” Hepple said.

Merritt's house was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene, Hepple said. Merritt, a male companion and children living at the residence were not home at the time of the fire, Hepple said.

“It only took a minute to jump to the next house,” Hepple said of the fire that ignited the Joneses' house.

The chief said that police and firefighters were alerted to the overnight blaze by a Knox Avenue resident who had heard a popping sound, which Hepple speculated was the fire breaking through windows or doors.

A state police fire marshal from the Washington barracks is investigating the cause of the fire, which destroyed Merritt's residence and extensively damaged the Joneses' house, Hepple said. Both houses were two-story wooden-framed structures, Hepple said.

The fire at Merritt's residence was so bad that the house collapsed into the foundation, leaving only the chimneys standing, the chief said.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 10 a.m., then returned about noon to extinguish a rekindle of the fire at Merritt's residence, which is owned by Rodney Merritt, father of Nakia, Hepple said.

Both families were assisted by the American Red Cross, which provided rooms at a motel, Hepple said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@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.