Westmoreland County Fire Kills 1, Injures 2 Firefighters
WEST NEWTON (KDKA) – One man was killed and two firefighters were injured in an early Thursday morning fire in Westmoreland County.
According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 5:30 a.m. at a home in the 200-block of West Main Street in West Newton.
A passerby saw 76-year-old Timothy Oliphante running onto the second floor porch of his house that was engulfed in flames.
“The guys masked up, going up the front porch, trying to get the gentleman off the porch and the porch roof collapsed on top of my guys. And he did not make it,” West Newton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Craig Sanner said.
“I just collapsed and screamed. I just knew because I could see it from the window,” Oliphante’s daughter Karen Bourne said.
Bourne lives across the street from her father and says he has been suffering from COPD and was given just a month left to live.
“Thirty days was all he had left. It was at the last end of the COPD,” she said. “He was frail, but I left there at nine o’clock and everything was normal.”
State police fire marshals were called in to investigate and explosions were heard from the house.
Bourne said she can guarantee it was from the oxygen and said her father unfortunately was still smoking.
“We had an argument last night and it’s even worse. You know, I got mad. What do you do? It’s still your dad whether he’s sick or not,” she said.
Two firefighters were injured when the porch collapsed. The coroner believes that Oliphante had already passed by the time they reached him.
“The fire was so intense we were unable to get to him,” Chief Sanner said.
The fire chief said the injuries to the two firefighters were thankfully not too serious. The one firefighter was taken to the hospital was mainly for precautionary reasons.