Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Deadly fire spurs community outpouring

by on May 20, 2014 10:59 AM

Officials reported Monday that a White Township youngster and her parents died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a fire swept through their mobile home west of Indiana early Sunday morning.

Gabbriella Novak, 9, and her mother, Nickole Novak, 27, and Shawn Marsh, 28, were trapped by the fire and were found in a rear bedroom of the mobile home after firefighters brought the blaze under control.

They resided at 105 Keystone Drive in the Colonial Court mobile home park, north of Philadelphia Street.

Indiana County Coroner Jerry Overman Jr. released the findings after overseeing autopsies of the victims Monday at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

Funeral arrangements for the family are being handled by the Rairigh-Bence Funeral Home in Indiana, where visitation is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

A single memorial service for the family members will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Graystone Presbyterian Church.

Community efforts to support the survivors of the family rose nearly as quickly as word of the tragedy spread through the Indiana area on Sunday and Monday.

Gabbriella was a popular third-grade student at Ben Franklin Elementary School in the Indiana Area School District, Shawn Marsh was self-employed as the operator of Marsh Tree Service, and Nickole Novak was a medical transcriptionist for the Diamond Pharmacy company in Indiana.

Friends have set up a web-based donation center to help the family defray the costs of funeral services and to assist Gabbriella’s surviving siblings. Her brother, Shawn, 6, and sister, Eva, 11, were staying with relatives at the time of the fire.

Contributions may be made at the Go Fund Me website, abbreviated at

Representatives of Rairigh-Bence said contributions for the family would be welcomed at the funeral home this week. Friends of the children are invited to write messages in chalk on the sidewalk outside the funeral home in the 900 block of Philadelphia Street on Thursday.

State police investigated the fire. Troopers at Indiana released no information about the possible cause or point of origin of the fire before deadline today.

PHOTO: Well-wishers have placed flowers and balloons at the site of a home that burned early Sunday morning at the Colonial Court mobile home park off of Philadelphia Street in White Township. (Tom Peel/Gazette)

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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