BURRELL TOWNSHIP — A fast-moving fire late Thursday night extensively damaged a house in Josephine and left six people homeless, officials said this morning.
Steve Cerovich, his wife, their daughter, Jennifer, and her three children and two dogs all safely escaped the house along Old Indiana Road, according to Charles “Skip” McGreevy, a disaster services representative of the Indiana County Chapter of American Red Cross.
Firefighters responded to the first call for help at 11:17 p.m. and volunteers from nine fire departments worked about five hours at the two-story house about one mile east of Route 119.
Bryan Palmer, chief of the Black Lick Volunteer Fire Company, said the fire started on the back porch. He ruled the fire an accident.
“We’re almost 100 percent certain that it was an electrical problem,” he said.
He called the damage “severe,” and said workers from Penelec were summoned to disconnect electric service to the house. Palmer said he called for so many fire departments because of the oppressive humidity and the risk of heat stress for firefighters.
“In humidity like this, it takes more people than usual to get things under control,” Palmer said.
The Coral-Graceton, Homer City, Indiana, Blairs-ville, Clyde, Derry, Derry Township and Latrobe departments responded. Volunteers from the Brush Valley, Armagh & East Wheatfield, Seward and New Alexandria departments were sent on standby assignments. McGreevy said no one was injured.
The Red Cross, he said, provided hotel accommodations for the Cerovich family, and assistance with food and clothing.
PHOTO: Firefighters from nine departments fought a blaze late Thursday that displaced a family of six at a house along Old Indiana Road in Burrell Township. (CARLY KROUSE/Gazette)