By Tribune-Review / Photo by James Knox
Fire destroyed a Sheraden home after the owner used an accelerant to start a fire in the fireplace early Thursday morning.
“It just caught the whole room on fire and it spread to the rest of the house,” Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Battalion Chief Bill Martin said.
The call came in around 7:30 a.m. to the wood-frame, three-story house in the 3000 block of Merwyn Avenue in Sheraden. When firefighters arrived on the scene, fire was coming out of the front window and the owner and lone occupant had exited safely, according to Martin.
“He says he was using kerosene, but the way he described it, appears it was gasoline,” Martin said. “When you have an accelerant in the house it spreads very quickly. Most people who use an accelerant don’t understand the consequences.”
Martin estimates the damage at $30,000. Investigators were on the scene from the city’s arson squad.
Sorry for the lack of updates, I was actually out of town for a few days and due to security reasons I really didn’t want to publish that info and come back to an empty house. So, lets get back into the swing of things and get you caught up with all the local western PA firefighting news for Monday, July 20th, 2009.
- Crazy story out of Lawrence County yesterday in McConnell’s Mill State Park. A team from US Search and Rescue Corps were performing training when they heard cries for help. Turns out, a person slipped and fell over a waterfall and fell 25 feet. He was rescued and flown to a Pittsburgh area hospital. [WTAE]
- Vincent Manzella, the Pittsburgh firefighter accused of calling in false alarms and then stealing from the station, is going to stand trial on burglary charges. [Tribune-Review]
- The Trib wrote an article related to the arson problems that won’t go away in some Pittsburgh area communities. [Tribune-Review]
- And finally, garage fire spread to an adjacent barn and caught fire up in Mill Village. [WICU12]
Here are your western Pennsylvania fire rescue news headlines for Monday, July 6th, 2009.
- Unfortunately, a Clarion County firefighter from Strattanville died while on scene of a fire this morning. LODD article here.
- Two more homes burned in the Sheraden section of Pittsburgh last night. Investigators are trying to determine if these fires were caused by arson as well since they’ve been having an arson problem in that section of the city. The fire started in one house and caught an exposure on fire. The last few fires were all in vacant structures, however last night a family of four had to escape and got out safely. [WTAE]
Sheraden Fire - WTAE
- A car slammed into not one, but two houses in Dunlevy, Washington county. One person was injured during the accident. [WTAE]
Dunlevy Accident - WTAE
- A motorcyclist died in an accident in McKeesport this morning. [WPXI]
Mckeesport Fatal Accident - WPXI
- More bad news from Clarion County, where there was an accident with a horse drawn carriage that ejected 5 people. It was a hit and run accident, however police later found the driver and reported he was under the influence. At least two of the victims were flown to Pittsburgh hospitals. [WPXI]
- Finally, there is a great new study going to be done by UPMC to see the best way to cool off firefighters. I, and I’m sure many others will be very interested to see the results. [Post-Gazette]
I can’t believe its July 1st already. Time is flying by again.
Here is a look at your Western PA Firefighting Headlines for July 1st, 2009.
- In a proactive response to the arson problems in the Sheraden section of Pittsburgh, the city has started demolition on abandoned vacant structures. Police suspect more than one person is behind the rash of arsons that have hit that section of the city. [WTAE]
- A teen was killed and 3 others injured when his vehicle collided with a U-Haul truck in Harrison Twp shortly before 11pm last night. [WTAE]
Harrison Twp - photo by WTAE
- Firefighters found a wild discovery after extinguishing a fire in the Troy Hill of Pittsburgh yesterday. The home contained a World War II aerial explosive device inside. The explosives were not active and posed no threat to anyone close to the scene. [WTAE]
- Arnold, New Kensington, and Lower Burrell firefighters battled a stubborn commercial structure fire at Dave’s Bar and Grill in Arnold yesterday. [Valley News]
Arnold Bar Fire - photo by Jason Bridge/Valley News Dispatch
- Connellsville Township has banned burning for two months effective today. [Daily Courier]
- And finally, northwestern Pennsylvania got hammered by rains yesterday, including Erie. [WICU12]
[WTAE] is reporting a firefighter, Vincent Manzella, is being accused of setting false alarms while off-duty in the Lawrenceville section of the city. While the crew from Engine 6 were out investigating, he allegedly went into Station 6 and stole small amounts of cash from his fellow firefighters.
Investigators knew it was an inside job since there was no forcible entry made. After reviewing the county 911 tapes of the false alarm cars, investigators recognized Manzella’s name on the tapes.
The motive behind his actions were reportedly to fund a heroin addiction. He was caught performing the false alarms and thefts on three different occasions. He admitted taking small amounts of cash, just enough to purchase some heroin,$10 off a kitchen counter, $25 from two firefighters, an $50 from a firehouse water fund collection.
The thing that struck me as odd was Manzella was still on the job stationed in the Sheraden station. At first, I was surprised to find he wasn’t suspended, but I’m sure Chief Jones is still reviewing the whole situation to get both sides of the story. Hopefully PBF can give him the help he needs to get off the heroin and straighten his life out. Sometimes the wrong choices are made in life, and hopefully people can be supportive of our fellow brother to get him the help he needs.
Here are your Western Pa Firefighting Headlines for Monday June 22, 2009
- A woman was struck by a vehicle and killed in Menallen Twp, Fayette county. [WTAE]
- A woman was also struck and killed in Jennerstown on Route 30 in Somerset county. [Tribune-Review]
- There was a vacant house fire in the Greenfield section of Pittsburgh. [WTAE]
- A person was ejected from his vehicle and died in Parks Township, Armstrong county. Per police, he was not wearing a seat belt. If there is one thing that I learned from responding to vehicle accidents, I have learned to always wear my seat belt. [WTAE]
- A man died in Bridgeville as well due to a motor vehicle accident. He was not wearing his seat belt either. [Post-Gazette]
- The Sheraden section of the city has an arsonist running loose and they have confirmed a 4th case. A garage was torched last night. This was the 4th fire in the last 2 weeks in that section of the city. Hopefully they catch the person(s) before someone gets hurt. [WTAE]
Sheraden Garage Fire - WTAE
- It was determined a fire on Saturday in Penn Hills was set by children playing with matches. [Tribune-Review]
Here is a look at your western Pennsylvania fire headlines for June 17th, 2009
- Sandy Creek Twp in Mercer County was the scene of a double fatal accident where per police a vehicle crossed the center line and hit two motorcycles. Both drivers of the motorcycles did not survive. [WTAE]
- There were house fires in South Park and New Brighton yesterday morning. [WTAE]
- I-70 was shutdown so that crews could clean up a tractor-trailer versus car accident in Belle Vernon. [WTAE]
Belle Vernon I-70 crash
- Crews in New Castle cut a person free from an accident on Butler Avenue. [WTAE]
- The Sheraden section of Pittsburgh appears to have an arsonist on the loose. Another house was destroyed yesterday. [WTAE]
Sheraden House Fire
- Good job by New Beaver Borough’s Fire Chief for saving a family and their dogs this morning. Unfortunately WPXI doesn’t have his name listed. Hopefully they’ll update the story. [WPXI]
- Eleven people were forced out of their North Side apartment building in Pittsburgh last night due to fire. [WPXI]
- Cook Twp in Westmoreland County had 2 fires ruled as arson. [Tribune-Review]
- Leechburg is considering a fine on the 3rd false fire alarm response. A step in the right direction that I’m surprised more departments/boroughs don’t do. [Valley News Dispatch]