Saturday Night Fire Called “Suspicious”

Local and State Fire Marshals believe Saturday night’s fire in downtown Kittanning was purposely set and are looking for the arsonist.

by David Croyle
Police are combing through video from surveillance cameras of several local businesses that will hopefully lead them to the person or persons who started a house fire on Saturday night.

A couch, chair, mattress and springs, as well as tires were used to start a fire behind 152 Diamond Way in downtown Kittanning late Saturday night. Police are asking anyone with information to please call the Kittanning Police Department or 911.

The fire began behind a duplex house at 150-152 Diamond Way located on an alley between South McKean Street and South Jefferson Street in downtown Kittanning.

Pennsylvania State Police Deputy Fire Marshal Trooper Duane Baird has ruled that an arsonist started the fire.

“The fire started in back of the house (duplex) in a pile of furniture and other combustible material. I believe the fire was intentionally set. My ruling on the fire is going to be incendiary (a device to cause fire).”

Kittanning Hose Company #1 Fire Chief Gene Stephens said the fire affected the 152 side of the duplex, which was unoccupied at the time the fire broke out.

“As it was burning (outside), it popped the window on the first floor in the kitchen and went into the house. On the second floor bedroom, it started into that room. It pretty well gutted the first floor and minor fire damage to the second floor bedroom. (There was) a lot of smoke and heat damage to the second and third floor.”

The 152 side of the duplex was a rental unit owned by Ted Claypoole of Kittanning.

On the 150 side, Trooper Baird said the damage was minimal.

“If anything, there was just minor smoke damage. There was really no damage because there was a fire wall separating the two, so it never did get into there.”

The 150 side is owned by Dustin Cravener and Chris Myers. The unit is occupied by 79-year-old Sally Brauers and a 12-year-old female. Brauers was taken to ACMH Hospital by Kittanning Hose Company #6 Ambulance Service for observation.

Kittanning Hose Companies 1, 4, 6, the county rehab unit, Rayburn Township and the West Kittanning Rapid Intervention Team (mobilized in case fire fighters get trapped in building) all responded to the 911 dispatch which occurred at 11:15 PM. Other units from East Franklin, Applewold, and Ford City were brought in to cover the remainder of the town and served as fire standby crews.

There was no damage estimate available at the time of publication.


VFW Post Trustee Honored During Ceremony

by David Croyle

As trustee of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 4843 in Ford City, Daryl Ray is often accustomed to officiating presentations. Last Friday night, he was the recipient.

Pattonville VFW Post 4843 Trustee Daryl Ray (left) receives a certificate of appreciation from Junior Vice Commander Bob Davila at a surprise ceremony on Friday afternoon.

In a surprise ceremony, Ray was honored for his continuing efforts to assist with the various functions of the VFW Post.

Junior Vice Commander Bob Davila of North Buffalo Township conducted the ceremony and praised Ray for his efforts.

“Today is a special day. Please help us, the officers, to give thanks to one of our members who without question does for our Post above and beyond – and at times, beyond what is asked.  He is not asked to do this, but he does it for the love of his Post.

“From the officers, it gives me great pleasure to give you this certificate. I speak for everybody here, about a well job that you do in the many tasks.”

As the crowd of members raised their glass and applauded, Ray humbly took the microphone.

“I want to thank the officers and trustees of this Post and every member of this Post. I have been up here since 1983. A lot of this that gets done, it ain’t me. We have the best officers and trustees up here that I have ever been associated with. It’s not just one individual. It takes a combination of us all. I have some great people here that go out of their way. I appreciate this recognition, but I think there are others that are just as deserving.  I want to thank you all.”