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Fire that critically burned man still being probed

| Thursday, May 10, 2012, 1:17 a.m.

Authorities hadn't ruled as of Wednesday on the cause of a fire that put a Penn Township man in a Pittsburgh burn unit.

Township police Chief Michael Mastroianni said Wednesday that a state police fire marshal and a township fire investigator returned this week to 397 Meadowbrook Road, Level Green, to try to figure out the cause.

"They're not sure at this point," he said. "They have more checking to do."

Ed Uherek, 46, was in critical condition yesterday at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, Uptown, a spokeswoman said.

He was flown to Mercy after he was rescued by four firefighters shortly after the fire began at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Mastroianni and Level Green fire Chief Buss Barkefelt said fire officials hope to speak with Uherek as part of the probe into the fire's origins.

"Maybe he can shed some light on it. Maybe he can't," Barkefelt said.

At this point, the cause of the fire is considered to be undetermined, he added.

Barkefelt identified Tom Grills, Tom Plecenik, Bill Bozzick and Brian Whitney as the four firefighters who found Uherek in a laundry room and took him to other waiting firefighters, who then took him to medical personnel so emergency treatment could begin.

Police said the fire appeared to have started in the downstairs game room where Uherek had been.

"We still don't think it was anything suspicious, certainly nothing criminal," Mastroianni said.

Uherek's father and a woman identified only as "Debbie" also were in the home when the fire occurred.

The father suffered burns, too.

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