FORD CITY (KDKA) — The state police fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of a house fire in Armstrong County that claimed the life of one woman and sent a man to the hospital.
The blaze broke out just after 8 p.m. Thursday in the 1500-block of Fifth Avenue in Ford City.
The Armstrong County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim as 46-year-old Jennifer Torney. Her fiancée, Doug Walbert, was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital.
“Some of his face is burned, his forehead, his ears, his whole entire back, the palms of his hands and his knees,” said Diane Walbert, Doug’s sister who lives next door to the couple.
Walbert and Torney each have three kids, but lived in the Ford City home alone.
According to the coroner’s office, when firefighters arrived they found a second-story bedroom engulfed in flames.
Crews found Doug Walbert in a back bedroom and pulled him to safety.
“My brother is in critical condition at Mercy Hospital, but they do expect him to make it,” Walbert said.
Officials with the coroner’s office say Torney was found in the bedroom where the fire started. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire was contained to the bedroom and hallway of the second floor, authorities said.
“It seemed like it took forever but it really didn’t,” said Walbert. “They did a wonderful job and had it not been for them, there would have been two fatalities instead of one. I wish Jen would have made it too. I wish I would have seen the flames.”
The coroner’s office has ruled the cause of Torney’s death as carbon monoxide inhalation. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but the State Police Fire Marshal’s Office says their preliminary findings are pointing to an accidental fire.