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Another fire on city's South Side

| Friday, Nov. 14, 2003

With temperatures in the 30s this morning, the sidewalk along East Washington Avenue teemed with people in their pajamas, who were trying to get as far away as they could from a fire that began in the rear of one of five apartments all located in the same building.

The fire began at the rear of Apartment 103 A on East Washington Avenue at approximately 6:20 a.m., according to New Haven Hose Fire Chief Joe Childs.

Everyone escaped injury, but Ruth Miller, the elderly lady who lived in Apartment 103 A, according to neighbors, was carried from the scene by Connellsville Police Officer Ryan Reese.

"She was in the doorway but she wouldn't leave her residence," said Reese. "I told her five times to leave but she wouldn't, so I carried her away."

Reese added that Miller was not injured but she was taken to Highlands Hospital by Fayette EMS for observation.

According to Childs, the kitchen and the outside of 103 A was burned pretty bad and the rear outside of the neighboring apartment 104 A was heavy damaged by fire, but other than that, the apartments mostly suffered smoke damage.

This is the third fire in a little over three weeks that has taken place on the South Side. The first two were abandoned buildings that were ruled arson.

On Oct. 21 an abandoned house on the corner of South Pittsburgh Street was ignited, and on Nov. 4 an abandoned house on Green Street caught fire.

Childs could not say if this morning's blazee was related to the other two or if it was in any way suspicious.

"The fires are just getting too close," said George Arison, who resides on East Washington Avenue. "It seems like every day you wake up, something else down the street is burning."

According to Dehn Untzuber, who resides in the apartment building next to the one that caught fire, he heard something popping and looked out the window.

"I was thinking, 'please don't let it get to this half,' and 'please let everyone get out safely,'" said Untzuber.

His mother Kathy Untzuber was on the phone at the time and it went dead.

"Because we live in apartments, we're always afraid of this possibility," she said.

She added that the apartment buildings that caught on fire had just recently been completely resided. Work was currently being done to reside the apartment building where she resides.

A construction worker for P.C. Yezbak added that it took them about a week to reside the fire-damaged building.

He added that the apartment buildings were owned by T. J. Rentals, an affiliate of Yezbak Lumber Company in Uniontown.

In addition to New Haven Hose Volunteer Fire Company and Fayette EMS, Connellsville City Police also assisted at the scene.

Childs said he would have more information on the blaze later today.

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