A Richland Township home was heavily damaged by fire Friday morning, but no injuries were reported, said Fire Chief Jim Kelly of the
“We found there was smoke coming out of the building when we got here. It appears the fire started somewhere in the basement area; it burned up through the floor,” Kelly said of the house fire in the 6000 block of Station Hill Road.
“Crews were able to get in fairly easy and [were] able to attack the fire and knock it down in a quick manner,” he added.
Homeowner Rich Laszczynski said he had no idea what caused the fire. He said he left for work at 7 a.m. and returned after a neighbor called him around 8:30 or 8:40 a.m.
The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office and Richland Fire Marshal Guy Pedicone were at the scene to investigate.
Neighbor Paul Yockel said he called 911 after seeing smoke coming out of the home. He never saw flames, he said.
Asked by various media at the scene about explosives and other reports, Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann said, "This is a house fire."
The homeowner had set off fireworks in the summer, Amann said, and firefighters were made aware of that so they would approach the home with caution.
Laszczynski said he had a propane tank for his grill in the basement and he told firefighters that for their safety. He pointed to the tank, which had been brought outside.
He said he has lived in the house since April 2009. Asked where he would go now, he said his fianceé lives nearby.
“I stay there periodically. Looks like I’ll be there a lot more,” he said as he stood watching firefighters working around his house.
“We had plans to turn this place into a rental property,” he said, noting it was fully furnished. “I got stuff to redo the bathroom.”
He said he was living there by himself.
Laszczynski said he had worked to fix up the place and that the only bad thing he experienced was when his ice-filled gutters came down, pulling siding off with them, after a heavy snow.
Multiple fire departments responded to the morning fire, including and
Laszczynski said he was surprised to see so many, but noted that tankers had to be brought in because there were no hydrants – the homes in that area use well water and septic systems.