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WEST FINLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — One person was killed in a fire that destroyed a Washington County home early Monday morning.
The first firefighters were called to the 100 block of Beham Ridge Road in West Finley Township around 1:30 a.m.
Judy Francis said she and her husband woke up around that time to her neighbor ringing the doorbell, then hearing him shout for help. Then she called 911.
“He said, ‘We gotta get Joe out, you gotta get Joe out,'” she said. “My husband is yelling back, ‘Calm down,’ he’s running up the road, and I’m yelling, ‘Don’t go in that house!'”
The neighbor who came to ask for help had been staying with the man who died in the fire. According to a close friend of the victim, they had been fixing up the abandoned house and were using a wood-burning stove to cook.
The man was outside when the fire started.
“On arrival, we had a fully involved structure basement and two stories. Confirmed entrapment at the time,” West Alexander Fire Chief Eric Graham said. “We had partial building collapse, were unable to make entry, were not able to rescue victim.”
Firefighters say the victim was a man in his late 50s. They say he was sleeping on the second floor when the fire started and fell through the floor when the home partially collapsed. He was found in the basement once firefighters were finally able to get inside.
Tanker trucks brought water in so crews could put the fire out.
“This area does not have a municipal water source. There’s tanker shuttles to bring water,” Graham said. “It’s something we do all the time here, so we never had interruption of water service here.”
The fire chief says there were no smoke alarms inside the house.
It took crews several hours to put out the flames.