Monessen fire considered suspicious – Observer-Reporter
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Monessen fire considered suspicious – Observer-Reporter

Firefighters battled scorching heat Tuesday as they extinguished a blaze at an abandoned building in Monessen.

Tuesday’s heat hampered the work of firefighters battling a blaze at an abandoned home in Monessen.

After the first fire units arrived at the scene of the fire at 704 Ninth St. at approximately 6:45 p.m., multiple fire units were called to assist Monessen.

“When I arrived on scene, it was heavily involved, if not completely involved, in a two-and-a-half-story, wood-frame structure right next to an occupied structure,” said Monessen Fire Chief Delmar Hepple. “We focused on the occupied structure, trying to save it.”

The cause of the fire is likely suspicious because the home had been unoccupied for years, Hepple said. The state fire marshal responded to the scene Wednesday.

“The building has no electricity at all; there hasn’t been for years,” he said.

Hepple said multiple companies were called out to help due to the heat on Tuesday.

“Guys who normally could put out a fire for 30 to 45 minutes at a time were now having to put out 10 to 15 minutes at a time, so we had to rotate more crews,” Hepple said. “I actually added another company to the workforce so we could do it safely without anyone getting heat exposure or heat exhaustion or anything like that.”

No injuries were reported.

Responding teams included: Monessen No. 1 and 2, North Belle Vernon, Washington Township, Charleroi, Carroll Township, Bentleyville for the Rapid Intervention Team, and Donora for additional manpower.

Mid Mon Valley Transit sent a bus to provide a place for first responders to cool down. The Salvation Army provided drinks and food, and rehabilitation teams from Mon Valley EMS and Fayette EMS were also on site.

Hepple said firefighters remained at the scene for about three hours.