Fire caused an estimated $2 million damage at a natural gas driller’s vehicle maintenance garage near Indiana on Christmas Eve.
Firefighters were called to Northeast Energy on Route 954 in White Township, near the intersection with Lucerne Road, around 5 a.m.
Indiana Fire Association Chief Charles Kelly said the building contained several oxygen and acetylene tanks that exploded.
No company employees were present when the fire started and nobody was injured, Kelly said.
The building was a total loss, Indiana First Assistant Chief Scott Schuller said.
A state police fire marshal determined that a tractor-trailer inside the building caught fire and the flames spread to other equipment and the building itself, Schuller said.
The company has insurance, he said.
Northeast Energy has an office plus other equipment including drilling rigs on its property so it still will be able to conduct business, Schuller said.
The company services Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas wells.
Fire departments from Homer City, Coral-Graceton, Clymer, Cherryhill Township and Marion Center also responded, according to Indiana County Emergency Management’s website.
Police seek suspect accused of threat
State police in Indiana are searching for a Homer City man who they say threatened to kill a woman and put a shotgun to her head on Monday.
Jeremy Lamb, 43, of Homer City, allegedly pointed the gun at the woman in a Buffington Township home and then fled.
A warrant has been issued for Lamb on charges of aggravated assault and terroristic threats, police said.
Police are asking that anyone with information on Lamb’s whereabouts call the barracks at 724-357-1960.
Cops: Man stole cuffs while fleeing troopers
An Indiana County man is jailed on charges that he stole a pair of handcuffs – which he was wearing when he slipped out of a state police cruiser’s window.
Douglas Lydic, 29, also faces charges of escape and receiving stolen property. Following arraignment, he was lodged in the Indiana County Jail on $25,000 straight cash bond.
Lydic was arrested Sunday evening on suspicion of drug possession and placed in a cruiser on Creek Road in Armstrong Township. He managed to lower a window in the vehicle and fled while troopers were searching around his car for evidence, state police in Indiana said.
Lydic was re-arrested Monday morning at the White Township home of his girlfriend, Tiffany White, 25. She was charged with hindering apprehension by police and was in the county jail in lieu of $10,000 straight cash bond.
Lydic had not been charged in the drug incident as of Tuesday.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for him.
Dad held on charges he shot daughter
A Westmoreland County man has been jailed on aggravated assault and other charges after state police said he accidentally shot his 11-year-old daughter when he banged a rifle on the floor during an argument with his girlfriend.
Police said Thomas Furin’s daughter was in an upstairs bedroom and was wounded in the leg and foot by the gunshot, which traveled through a downstairs ceiling and up through the floor of a bedroom where she was sitting cross-legged.
The incident happened about 10:45 p.m. Sunday in Derry Township.
Furin, 36, remained in the Westmoreland County Prison awaiting a preliminary hearing Jan. 8. Online court records don’t list an attorney for him.
Furin allegedly was trying to take his daughter to the hospital when troopers arrived and ordered him to surrender instead.
Would-be robber carried toy gun
State police are looking for a man who tried to rob a convenience store with a toy gun, and then left empty-handed after getting into a fight with a customer.
WTAE-TV said Tuesday that a surveillance camera recorded the altercation last week at the Red Apple convenience store in Derry Township, Westmoreland County.
Police said the toy gun broke during the fight and the would-be robber took off and remains at large.
Even though the gun wasn’t real, state police said the suspect won’t face lighter charges.
Trooper Steve Limani said displaying a weapon carries the same charges whether it’s real or fake.
Prison worker sues following rape
A state prison employee who told her superiors she didn’t feel safe doing her job claims she was punished for voicing her complaints.
The Centre Daily Times said Tuesday the lawsuit brought by counselor Melissa Reed alleges that supervisors at State Correctional Institution-Rockview in Centre County never acted on the complaints that she first raised in October 2011 until August 2013, when investigators came to examine safety protocols after police said an inmate raped a clerical employee in July.
Reed said she was punished by being transferred to a lower-level job that required her to work in isolated groups with inmates and had fewer safety protocols than the counselor job.
A Corrections Department attorney says Reed has offered no evidence of wrongdoing.