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Mt. Pleasant Township man dies in mobile home fire

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 5:54 a.m.

Firefighters found the body of a Mt. Pleasant Township man in a mobile home destroyed by fire early Thursday morning.

David R. Hershberger, 63, died in the blaze that started about 12:25 a.m. in his home at 74 Liberty St.

"When we arrived on scene, the structure was fully involved," said Hecla fire Chief Ron Kimmel. "There was a lot of smoke and a lot of fire. At the time, we didn't know anybody was in there."

Kimmel said neighbors told firefighters that someone may be inside the home.

"They said he never leaves. If the car's there, he's there," Kimmel said. "We did a complete check outside, thinking maybe he got out. When we didn't find him, we went back into offensive mode. We couldn't get in. We had to fight the fire back before we could get in and start searching."

After firefighters battled the blaze for about an hour, the victim's body was found in the kitchen, Kimmel said.

Hershberger was pronounced dead at the scene by Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Dennis Johns.

An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday by Cyril Wecht and Pathology Associates of Pittsburgh. Results were not available last night.

Hershberger lived alone in the mobile home.

The fire marshal for state police at Greensburg is handling the fire investigation. Authorities have not determined how it started and why Hershberger did not escape.

The chief said the mobile home dates to the late 1960s or early 1970s. A garage and bedroom were added on in later years.

"It was an old structure that just went up like a toothpick," Kimmel said.

Firefighters from at least seven companies fought the fire, he said.

Hershberger was a lifelong resident of the Mt. Pleasant area. Before his retirement in 2004, he was a production worker for the former L.E. Smith Glass Co. in Mt. Pleasant.

Hershberger is survived by his sister, Nancy Eck of Youngwood; brothers Thomas Hershberger of Mt. Pleasant and Charles Hershberger and wife, Nancy, of Scottdale.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Brooks Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant.

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