Fire Destroys Washington Co. Church, Care Home

By: Heather Abraham

CLAYSVILLE (KDKA) – A church and a personal care home in Washington County were destroyed in an early Friday morning fire.

According to officials, the fire broke out around midnight on Elm Street in Claysville.

The fire raged for hours inside the unused church. The bigger threat was the personal care home attached to the church.

Inside the Bethel Personal Care Home, 16 veteran’s lives were at risk

“I looked out of a window and it was just blazing orange and smoke everywhere. And I ran outside the building and realized the building I was in was burning down,” Dustin Hercules said.

Hercules was working alone at the facility and knew he needed to act fast to get all the residents out.

“We do fire drills every month. So, everyone pretty much knew what to do. You think you’re prepared until the thing actually happens. I just did everything I could and got everyone out as fast as I could,” Hercules said.

About 50 feet away is another rest home called Mama’s House. All 18 residents were also evacuated and no one was hurt.

Residents of both facilities were taken to the Claysville Volunteer Fire Department.

“Very lucky. The staff that was working [did] a fantastic job. Prior to our arrival, all the patients were evacuated,” Claysville Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Hilderbrand said.

The fire was so intense that several homes were hit with the heat and flying embers.

“Engulfed in flames, the heat was overwhelming, melted all the siding off everyone’s houses and moved extremely fast,” Justin Welsh said.

The church was reduced to rubble and fire marshals will have to dig to find the cause.

While it’s still standing, the Bethel Personal Care Home may not reopen.

However, residents at Mama’s House were being allowed back in Friday morning.


More Washington County News
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Claysville Volunteer Fire Department
Washington County Information

  • Ming the Merciless

    Thank God every one has gotten out so many of those personnel care and nursing homes in Washington and rural County’s are extremely old not well maintained and lack much of advanced safety equipment sprinklers etc you find in nursing facility in Allegheny County. Why the state inspectors even allow some of these places to stay open is amazing.
    many of these homes have no lighted exit signs or emergency lights no back up generator and fire alarms if they even have one not tied to 911 its discussing.
    wheres Marty and the investigators on this issue?

  • Michelle Landis

    I could see the the firemen working hard from our living room window and its 2 streets away.
    I am thankful the wonderful team we have here in Claysville. They are always busy with calls between fires, EMT, and I-70 response. Great work Guys and Gals! They do tons of fundraisers too for the people in need in this small town. :)

  • jim

    thank for getting my brother out the old church brother jim

    • jamie studt

      jim your welcome henry is apart of our family

  • Steve

    Awesome job those two nurses did in evacuating everyone!!!

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