MT. PLEASANT TWP. (KDKA) – A police officer’s home in Mt. Pleasant Township, Washington County, was destroyed by a fire early Tuesday morning.

All that’s left is a pile of bricks and smoldering debris where the garage used to stand, beside the heavily damaged home of a local police officer.

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He was able to get out with his wife and pets, but their house is a total loss.

The fire started around 2:15 a.m. at the home on Culley Lane.

The responding fire and police weren’t just there to help. They also are friends and co-workers of the homeowner.

“He’s a friend of a lot of people in the valley here,” Hector Delaney said. “He’s been very active in the McDonald Fire Department, with the police department.”

McDonald Police Officer Harold Purdy lived in the home with his wife, Betty.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Purdy said it started in the breezeway between the house and garage.

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Neighbors said he tried to put it out before firefighters got on scene.

“I guess he had a garden hose, but it wasn’t getting it. It was frozen,” Ralph Tourney said. “I feel bad for him.”

“It looks to me like it’s totally destroyed. They’re going to have to completely rebuild. There’s nothing salvageable. It looks like the fire traveled through the entire house,” Delaney said.

Officer Purdy’s wife was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, while state police spent the morning digging brick by brick through the rubble to find the cause.

The couple was able to get their pets out, but as for possessions, most were lost in the fire.

“It’s just a tragedy here. Just a tragedy,” Delaney said.

After talking with friends and neighbors, you get the sense that Officer Purdy and his wife have a lot of support to help get them through this in the coming days.


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Heather Abraham