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13 displaced by Penn Township townhouse fire |

13 displaced by Penn Township townhouse fire

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, August 17, 2016 3:09 a.m
A townhouse fire erupted Aug. 17, 2016, on Trail Side Court in Penn Township.
A fire damaged several Penn Township townhomes Aug. 17, 2016.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
The townhomes located on Trail Side Court in Penn Township where an overnight fire displaced 13 people on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
The townhomes located along Trail Side Court in Penn Township where an overnight fire displaced 13 people on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.

Claridge fire Chief Bob Bankosh was more than a mile away early Wednesday when he saw flames shooting 25 feet in the air from townhouses in the Walton Crossings complex in Penn Township.

“It was really going in one of the units in the middle,” he said. “We were fortunate everyone was able to get out of all those units and there were no injuries.”

More than a dozen fire departments from Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, including three ladder trucks and eight engines, responded to the 2:38 a.m. fire on Trail Side Court.

“It was in a row of six townhouse units, and our main objective was we didn’t want it to spread,” Bankosh said.

Although there were initial reports of an explosion, the chief said a propane fuel tank found on a deck where the blaze began was intact.

“It did not explode,” he said.

The first firefighters to arrive from Claridge and White Valley were able to quickly knock down the flames, Bankosh said.

Thirteen residents were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross, officials said.

Firefighters remained on the scene past 4 a.m.

“Our main concern was to keep it from spreading to the other buildings. We were able to do that, although units on both sides of where the fire began were also damaged,” Bankosh said.

The state police fire marshal ruled the fire accidental, but the cause remains under investigation.

“Fortunately, everyone heard the smoke alarms, and they were able to get out,” Bankosh said.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, or via Twitter .

Categories: Westmoreland
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