March 19–A Kiski Township couple escaped without harm as a fire destroyed their home Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters from three counties responded, but some had difficulty getting to the scene quickly.

The blaze was reported around 3:15 p.m. at the home of Glenn and Victoria Nolan in the 100 block of Gartley Street.

“Flames were blowing out of everywhere when we got here,” Kiski first assistant fire Chief Sam Sipe said.

Six fire departments from Armstrong, Westmoreland and Indiana counties responded to the blaze, Kiski fire Chief Rich Frain said.

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen, he said.

“The owner stated he was heating up some oil in the kitchen on the stove,” Frain said. “He went to the basement and forgot about the oil. He smelled something burning and returned to the kitchen, and it was on fire.”

It took firefighters about an hour to bring the blaze under control. None was hurt in the effort. The house was a total loss.

Frain said the outcome might have been better if fire trucks and water tankers from Westmoreland County had been able to cross the Salina bridge. Because of a 10-ton weight limit, the trucks had to travel through Avonmore to cross the Kiski River.

The Bell Township fire department is about a mile away, and an engine could have reached the house in five minutes, Frain said. His department is about 6 miles away, and getting there took twice as long.

“The bridge was a hindrance,” he said.

Sipe said firefighters initially entered the house but were pulled out as flames were shooting through the roof.

“It got up into the ceiling and pretty much burned the roof off the entire structure,” Frain said.

Frain said the Nolans own the house but it is not insured. He said the Nolans would be staying in a neighboring house they own beside it.

Although the fire is not considered suspicious, Frain said a state police fire marshal will be brought in to investigate the cause.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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By Brian C. Rittmeyer, The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.

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