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Fire displaces Vandergrift family of 3, no one hurt

posted Oct 27, 2017, 10:37 PM by Joseph Gray

     

Firefghters battle a blaze at the scene of a house fire on Custer Avenue in Vandergrift on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.
Chuck Biedka | Tribune-Review
Firefghters battle a blaze at the scene of a house fire on Custer Avenue in Vandergrift on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.


Firefighters at first feared someone was trapped inside a Vandergrift house Friday night.

Fortunately, Danielle Rago, the only person in the house on Custer Street, was able to get out without injury. No firefighters or police were injured either.

Vandergrift No. 1 Fire Chief Randy Dunmire said thick smoke was encountered on the first and second floors of the brick house, which is along a row of tightly packed houses.

Rago said she was doing laundry in the basement when she went upstairs and saw smoke. She called Westmoreland County 911 just after 7:30 p.m.

Two of Rago's relatives who live with her weren't home.

The fire was found in a second-floor front bedroom, Dunmire said, and volunteers from the Vandergrift, Parks and West Leechburg departments went to work.

When Dunmire entered the house, he saw “heavy fire and burning into the walls.”

Firefighters were able to quench the flames within about 30 minutes.

There was an unknown amount of interior damage, and some plastic molding was melted on the front porch. Windows that faced the front street were broken and the window sills were covered with soot.

Firefighters managed to keep the flames away from neighboring houses less than 4 feet away, but there was a good bit of smoke, said Sue Baillie, who has lived next door for 17 years.

A state police deputy fire marshal will look at the damage Saturday, Dunmire said.

Rago will be assisted by relatives and the American Red Cross, he added.

Dunmire and some members of the George G. McMurtry Fire Department 1 were only about 400 yards away from the burning house when they were summoned to their firehouse on Franklin Avenue.

They were attending the last Kiski Area High School game at Davis Field.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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