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Penn Township fire forces couple from home

| Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 8:14 a.m.

An early-morning fire Monday forced a Penn Township husband and wife from their home.

Brian Lee, Paintertown fire chief, said the blaze was contained to the living room at 4097 Route 130. The woman was sleeping on the couch when the fire started through the living room floor and wall, making crackling sounds that woke her.

"We had it under control in about the first five minutes, but there were a bunch of hot spots we had to take care of," Lee said. "We had some overhaul work, which took quite a while. We had to tear the walls out, tear a section of the ceiling, tear some floor to get everywhere it was burnt."

The fire apparently started in the chimney and spread into the walls, Lee said.

Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours. Nobody was hurt. The names of the residents were not released.

"There were two residents of the home, but they made it out safely," Lee said.

Level Green fire Chief Buss Barkefelt said the wife had been concerned about sounds she heard earlier in the evening, which prompted her to sleep on the couch. That may have minimized the potential danger.

"If they had been asleep in another room, she may not have heard it, and it would have gotten a good start," Barkefelt said.

The blistering cold conditions did not affect firefighters much because most of their work was done inside, Lee said.

Pat Wilson, director of emergency services for the Westmoreland County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the family will be provided with "comfort kits," cleaning kits and blankets.

"We provided a little bit of assistance and guidance. We'll be monitoring their needs over the next few days," Wilson said. "This family is in pretty decent shape; they seemed to have a pretty decent preparedness plan. They had insurance, and they had family members to stay with."

Joining Paintertown and Level Green were firefighters from Harrison City, Claridge and North Irwin.

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