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Workers’ quick reaction to fire saves home

Window installers pulled double duty as firefighters Wednesday and are credited with saving one of Avalon’s oldest homes from destruction.

Chuck Heckert and his son, Josh, both of West Deer, and Leo Patterson and Keri Patterson, siblings who live in the Finleyville area, were working in the Birmingham Orchard Apartments along Orchard Avenue when they heard a fire alarm go off about 2:20 p.m. and saw flames coming from a first-floor window in the home at 117 S. Birmingham Ave., a house built between 1875 and 1880.

“I grabbed the garden hose and started squirting through the window,” Chuck Heckert said. “Leo ran upstairs to see if there was anybody home.”

Avalon police Chief Robert Howie said the end result could have been devastating if the window installers had not responded so quickly.

The occupants of the two-and-a-half-story home, who were not identified, were not at home when the fire broke out. Police identified the owner of the home as Rhonda Moan, but did not have an address.

Firefighters from Emsworth, Avalon, Ben Avon, Bellevue and West View arrived to a smoldering but mostly extinguished fire.

Avalon fire Chief Bill Carney said the cause of the fire appeared to be a cigarette left in a garbage can but the investigation is continuing. He said the damage largely was confined to the kitchen.


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