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Family members, pets uninjured in Pine St. fire

June 11, 2012

Punxsutawney firefighters leave a house owned by Richard White at 217 Pine St., where a fire damaged the home. The Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal is investigating the cause. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The investigation into a fire that heavily damaged a house on Pine Street Monday afternoon continues today.

The house at 217 Pine St., owned by Richard White, had heavy smoke showing from the eaves when firefighters arrived on the scene at 1:45 p.m., according to Bryan Smith, Punxsutawney Fire Department chief.

Elk Run Chief Doug McAfoos was one of the first officers on scene, and said when he arrived, there was smoke coming from the structure.

Punxsutawney Borough Police officers had kicked open the door when a firefighter saw the flames in one of the interior walls.

They then tried to knock down the fire with fire extinguishers.

Originally, first responders were concerned that there might be some family members — one of whom is confined to a wheelchair — still inside, McAfoos said.

But Smith said there were no family members at home, and the family dogs escaped the flames, which were knocked down in about 10 to 15 minutes once a fire apparatus was quickly brought to the scene.

State Police Fire Marshal Charles Gross said the fire, which is believed to have begun in the wall, is undetermined, and the investigation will continue.

Jefferson County EMS set up a rehab area for fire-fighters to recover from extreme heat conditions while fighting the blaze.

Central, Elk Run and Lindsey Fire Companies were assisted at the scene by McCalmont Township and Big Run, with Reynoldsville on standby at Central Fire Department.

The Salvation Army Canteen assisted with cold drinks at the scene, and the American Red Cross assisted the family with housing for the night.

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