Car hits house, igniting blaze
August 24, 2013 10:59 AM
by JAMES J. NESTOR
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BLAIRSVILLE — A Blairsville home was heavily damaged when a car driven by a next-door neighbor crashed into it Friday evening and ruptured a natural gas line, setting the home ablaze.

No one was injured as a result of the accident, which occurred at 174 Evans Ave., the home of Frank and Vickie Magnone.

According to police and fire officials, the Magnones’ neighbor, Dolores Forsha, 85, was attempting to straighten her car after pulling into her garage. She lost control for an unknown reason while on her driveway.

Her car traveled in reverse down the driveway and went across Locust Street, which runs between the two homes, hopping a curb. The car then struck the home’s natural gas meter, and the leaking gas ignited.

Upon hearing the crash, neighbors came running, including B. Edward Smith, who lives one door up from Forsha.

Smith said he was sitting on his back porch when he heard the crash. After getting up to take a look, he found Forsha’s car up against the living room side of the Magnones’ house, its trunk already on fire.

He ran down and helped Forsha out of the car, he said.

The Magnones were not home at the time of the accident.

Blairsville Fire Chief George Burkley said that after the gas ignited, flames shot up the side of the house, burned into the attic and spread along the roof, causing heavy heat and smoke damage throughout the house. He said it may be deemed a total loss.

The Indiana County Chapter of the American Red cross was at scene Friday night to provide emergency assistance.

In addition to Blairsville, firefighters from Black Lick, Eastern Derry, Derry, Coral/Graceton and Homer City responded.

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