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Jefferson home hit by blaze

Chuck Biedka
| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2002

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP: A smoke alarm apparently saved a woman from an early morning house fire Monday.

Jane Vadnal was asleep in her farmhouse at 116 Bull Creek Road, just off Dinnerbell Road, when the smoke alarm sounded.

She stumbled out of bed and immediately saw smoke.

"She went into the living room and saw it was burning in the wall, so she got out," Saxonburg Fire Chief Gary Cooper said.

"It's a good thing that she had an alarm. She credits it with saving her life," Cooper said.

The farmhouse, constructed about 1870, was destroyed.

Vadnal was unharmed, and will be staying with relatives, Cooper said.

Vadnal wasn't available for comment.

The call was reported to Butler County emergency services at 7:45 a.m.

Fire was showing when the first units arrived at the farm.

"It was going pretty good when we got there. Crews went to the second floor to fight the fire, but we pulled them out because we didn't feel it was safe enough," Cooper said.

Pumpers were used because no hydrants were available.

"There was a pond across the road, so we accessed it through the ice," he said.

About 50 volunteers from seven fire departments were made miserable by snow and freezing rain. The flames were put out and firefighters left the house shortly after 2 p.m.

"It was cold and miserable," Cooper said.

Saxonburg, Penn Township, Middlesex, Herman, South Butler, Buffalo Township and Winfield fire companies fought the blaze.

Cooper said the fire remains under investigation, but is thought to be accidental.

"We're still looking at it. It's probably electrical in nature or it was the fireplace. We don't know yet."

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