ALTOONA – The fire inspector has ruled an early morning fire in the City of Altoona accidental. Tim Hughes, fire inspector for the Altoona Fire Department, said the fire started after a child inside this house here caught the couch on fire, while playing with a cigarette lighter.
Fire broke out here in the 300-block of Lexington Avenue. The fire was fully involved by the time crews arrived. It took about 40 minutes to get that fire under control, nearly two hours to put out completely.
A family of 7 lived inside the home, and everyone was out of the house by the time crews got there. At least four of them were taken to UPMC Altoona and treated for minor injuries. The Red Cross is helping the family.
Three fire fighters were also were taken to the hospital and treated for ankle sprains and heat exhaustion. Those fire fighters are at home recovering.
“I’m glad that our firefighters only had minor injuries,” said Deputy Chief Mike Tofano, of the Altoona Police Department. “It’s certainly a strenuous and dangerous job, but it’s one that our guys are trained to do.”
The Douglas family was not home when the attic fan in their Highland Avenue home caught fire yesterday.
But thanks to a neighbor, who was not identified, their dog escaped safely.
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Kobbe said a neighbor saw flames coming from the attic of a home at 2208 Highland and forced open the door to the house, then went inside to look for the dog.
He found the dog, a medium sized beagle mix, and got it out safely. The family’s other animals, which included another dog, two fish and a bird, were not injured. Phillip and Kayla Douglas and their four children live in the house, which is owned by Holly Hampe, according to the report.