East Vandergrift family loses home to fire
Dennis and Melissa Louviere moved their family from Louisiana to East Vandergrift about two months ago, and they were chasing the American dream.
Their efforts were dealt a severe setback when their home caught fire Tuesday evening.
Dennis Louviere was home with their three sons, ages 2, 4 and 8, along with his wife's sister when the fire broke out about 6 p.m. in the house at 221 McKinley Ave.
Melissa Louviere was at work in Apollo.
The Louvieres were renting the house and had no insurance.
Dennis Louviere said he was checking out some noises when he was hit by a “wall of fire” at the back of the house.
They all got safely out the front door, along with the family dog.
Dennis Louviere said he had no idea what could have started the fire.
Vandergrift No. 1 fire Chief Randy Dunmire said officials also didn't know yet but added it was not considered suspicious.
Dunmire said arriving firefighters found heavy smoke in the area and fire at the back of the house.
“We heard crackling and snapping,” said Roseann Williams, who lives across the street. “It smelled like plastic burning.”
Williams said the popping sound was the house's windows breaking.
“The whole back porch was involved in minutes,” she said. “The flames were just shooting out.”
Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to the house next door on one side. Part of a plastic fence melted.
It took firefighters from five departments about an hour to get the fire under control. Because of the home's construction, Dunmire said they had to chase down hot spots in the walls and ceilings.
No firefighters were injured.
Dunmire said there was substantial damage and the house was uninhabitable. The Red Cross was contacted to help the family with clothes and a place to stay.