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Grill fire spreads to Derry Township home

| Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:03 p.m.
Austin Bachand | Tribune-Review
Firefighters spray the outside of a house after a fire on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Derry Township.

Lincoln Pynos helplessly watched as a fire, blamed on cooking, consumed his brother's neighboring Derry Township home Tuesday evening.

“The kids ran in screaming, ‘Uncle Donny's house is on fire,' ” Pynos recalled. “I came out, and it sounded like a jet engine with that propane tank. The whole place was engulfed.

“Then it was a matter of watching it, making sure nobody went in,” he added.

The fire started about 5 p.m. at Don and Dawn Pynos' home on Brinker Street.

Dawn Pynos was cooking hamburgers on a propane grill on a porch attached to the side of the brick home when the food caught on fire, Bradenville fire Chief Mark Piantine said. She thought the fire was out and went back inside the two-story home.

When she came back out, she discovered that “the fire went up the wall,” Piantine said.

Dawn Pynos and son Max escaped the house and fire uninjured.

Firefighters from at least a half-dozen companies needed about 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze and remained on the scene as darkness fell.

Piantine described the home as gutted. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Don Pynos said he was en route home from his job as a counselor at the Westmoreland County jail when the fire started.

“It was like this,” Pynos said of the charred ruin on his arrival home.

Firefighters salvaged several guns that Don Pynos owned, along with a folded American flag in a display cover that was presented at the funeral of his father, Don, a Navy veteran.

Don Pynos said most of his vast gun collection was in fire-proof safes in the basement, where there was mostly water damage.

Emergency responders hauled out boxes of ammunition.

“Some of it's loaded, but a lot of it's for reloading,” Don Pynos said.

A statue of the Virgin Mary, about 12 feet from where the fire started, sustained only a few burn marks to the back of her head.

“That's eerie,” Lincoln Pynos said.

“Now I have the chills,” a woman added.

Don Pynos described his wife as being in shock.

“There's nothing I can do about it,” Don Pynos said in a calm demeanor. “It is, what it is.”

He said the family has insurance.

Piantine planned to contact the American Red Cross to help the family.

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