By Bob Allen

KISKIMINETAS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A man and his girlfriend were not hurt, but he became trapped when their Armstrong County home collapsed while they slept Sunday morning.

Armstrong County authorities believe days of rain softened the ground causing James Held’s home on Redtown Road to move off its foundation in Kiskiminetas Township.

“The whole house actually just slid off the foundation and the house actually made contact with the ground, it’s pretty bad,” said Chief Rich Frain, of the Kiski Township Fire Department. “From the terrain, the way the water was laying it just weakened everything to the point where the structure collapsed.”

The house ended up nearly on its side. When the structure moved, Held’s girlfriend escaped but he was still trapped inside because the door couldn’t open.

Officer Scott Ponteri was first to respond, but he found out it was too dangerous to rescue the occupant.

“I discovered when the power lines came down they fell in front of the structure and I knew they were still hot because Mr. Held told me there was a light still on inside the residence,” said Officer Ponteri, of the Kiskiminetas Township Police Department.

Once the electricity was shut off, firefighters shored up the side that was leaning. They were barely able to pull Held out through the door.

“That was an issue, the power was right above the door we were trying to get him out of,” said Chief Frain. “When it did fall over, the door did lodge itself open approximately about 12 to 18 inches we were actually able to slide him out through the door.”

Authorities advised the man and his girlfriend to stay out of the structure because it was considered too dangerous.

“He was very distraught; he wanted to reenter the residence after we got him out because he needed his medication and other personal belongings, but we tried to talk to him and advise him the structure is not safe to enter,” said Officer Ponteri.

The family did not want to talk on camera, but they are scrambling to get all of their belongings out because the house is considered unlivable.

Kiski Township Fire Department
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