Duplex fire in Unity injures 2 residents |

Duplex fire in Unity injures 2 residents

Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that broke out in a two-story duplex shortly before 4 a.m. at 1132 Puriton Ave. in the Baggaley section of Unity on Nov. 7, 2014.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Firefighters enter the second story while battling a blaze that broke out in a duplex shortly before 4 a.m. at 1132 Puriton Ave. in Baggaley, Unity Township, on Nov. 7, 2014.

A woman who uses a wheelchair and her stepson were injured early Friday in a house fire that gutted a two-story frame duplex in Unity.

Youngstown firefighters said the blaze was reported at 3:35 a.m. at 1132 Puriton Avenue in the village of Baggaley.

Two residents in one side of the duplex, Stacey Plymale, 45, who is confined to a wheelchair, and her stepson, Paul Plymale, 24, were able to escape the fire but needed medical treatment, according to authorities.

The woman was taken by Mutual Aid Ambulance to Excela Health Latrobe Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Paul Plymale sustained burns and was taken by ambulance to an unknown medical facility.

Neighbor Mark Repko said his 2-year-old, black Labrador-German shepherd mix, Grizzy, woke him in his second-story bedroom just after 3 a.m.

“I got up and heard a noise outside, and I thought someone was knocking at the door,” Repko said.

Repko said he opened his door and saw “flames shooting out of the windows” of the house next door.

“I saw Paul walking over … and I told him, “Go back in and get your mother out … she’s not out here.’ I guess he went over and helped her out,” Repko said.

Repko and his wife Priscilla then called 911.

“Fortunately, the other apartment in the duplex was vacant. But I think Grizzy is the hero here because Paul didn’t realize his mother was still inside,” Repko said.

The state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Youngstown firefighters said they were able to contain the blaze after about 40 minutes. Firefighters from several eastern Westmoreland County volunteer fire departments remained on the scene through the morning extinguishing hot spots, firefighters said.

According to tax records, the house is owned by Bruno Holinaider of Unity Township.

Paul Peirce is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 724-850-2860.

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