Storm sparks fire that damages Houston house

Paul Gathier and a friend attempt to secure a broken window at Gathier’s residence in Houston Tuesday evening. His home on North Main Street was damaged by a fire that occurred when a line of heavy storms rolled through the area. - Aaron Kendeall / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A Houston family received lodging from the Red Cross Tuesday night after a fire ravaged their North Main Street home.

“It happened so fast,” said Paul Gathier, the owner of the duplex located at 623 N. Main St. “Sparks started shooting out of the meter outside, and the next thing I knew it was on fire.”

The fire began about 6:30 p.m., just as a thnderstorm rolled through the area, bringing heavy showers and lightning.

Chartiers Township Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Fetty said the house suffered extensive damage. After starting on the outside of the building, flames moved quickly through the walls of the wooden structure. The fire moved from the ground level to the attic, where firefighters had to break windows and remove portions of the roof to extinguish the blaze.

Gathier was the only person in the house at the time of the fire. Firefighters were able to locate two of the family’s four cats that had been missing. All of the cats and two dogs survived.

BellAnn Gathier, Paul’s wife, said the family was in the process of remodeling and did not have fire insurance. Much of the right side of the duplex, where the family lived, was destroyed. She said the family would move into the left side of the house while they tried to repair damage caused to the other unit. The left side of the structure was being used by Paul’s mother and sustained little damage.

Although they lost a new big-screen TV, furniture and many of their belongings, BellAnn Gathier said she was thankful that nobody was injured and firefighters were able to prevent a total loss.

“The fire department did the best they could,” Gathier said.


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