The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 28, 2014

East Taylor home destroyed

JOHNSTOWN — A wood-burning furnace malfunction is being blamed for a Monday morning fire that destroyed a home in the village of Echo.

“The owner said he had just started a fire in the wood burner to take the chill out of the house,” East Taylor Township fire Chief Richard Buchan said.

“He looked over and saw the kitchen was full of smoke.”

The owner, who lived alone at the residence, saw flames coming through a floor register in the kitchen, Buchan said.

“He ran down and tried to throw buckets of water on the furnace, but it drove him out,” Buchan said.

Smoke was billowing from the home in the

400 block of Echo Road, East Taylor Township, when fire crews arrived.

“The inside of the house was going pretty good,” he said. “They had a pretty good knockdown.”

But alterations to the older wood frame home allowed the fire to continue in a space between the original roof and one added above it.

Firefighters had to cut through the top roof to get at the flames raging between the layers, Buchan said.

Crews relied on pumpers and tankers to douse the blaze. The two nearest fire hydrants are located at each end of the road, and would have required too much time and equipment to connect, he said.

East Taylor volunteers were assisted by West Taylor, Middle Taylor, Jackson Township, Franklin, Nanty Glo and Dauntless fire companies.

Salvation Army and American Red Cross are helping the homeowner, who is staying with a relative.

Buchan said the structure was not insured.

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.

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