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House blaze causes roof collapse in Luxor

| Saturday, May 12, 2012, 5:49 p.m.

A fire early Thursday morning destroyed a house in the village of Luxor, Hempfield Township.

Luxor Assistant Fire Chief Angelo Salandro said firefighters initially thought someone was trapped inside the two-story residence on Old School Road.

"When we got there, the fire was through the roof," he said. "The neighbors were yelling, 'There's somebody in there.'"

Salandro said crews immediately began an interior search of the structure using thermal-imaging equipment, but they found nobody inside. Firefighters were evacuated when the roof began to fall.

"The biggest concern then was getting everybody out when the roof collapsed," he said.

Salandro said the firefighters later learned that the house's occupant was away for the night.

Township Fire Investigator Doug Fordyce said the structure's owner, Kevin Griffin Sr., has an insurance policy on it. He said Griffin's son had been living there.

Fordyce spent the later part of the morning at the scene. As of last night, he said the cause of the fire was undetermined and his investigation would have to continue.

"Right now it doesn't seem suspicious," he added.

The old wooden structure is a total loss, Fordyce said. He was unable to give a monetary estimate of the damage.

He said the house was formerly a duplex that had been converted into a single dwelling.

Fordyce's investigation was assisted by state police.

Assisting Luxor at the 4 a.m. fire were departments from Bovard, Hannastown, Crabtree, Forbes Road, Greensburg, Lloydsville, Dry Ridge and New Alexandria. They were at the scene until 10:30 a.m.

"It took awhile," Salandro said. "It was a stubborn fire. Everything fell in."

He also said he appreciates the understanding of employers who allowed the volunteers to take off from work to fight the fire.

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