Buffalo Township mother, son killed in fire

October 28, 2013
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Lisa Marie Hewitt and her 5-year-old son, Timothy Adam Hewitt Jr., were killed in a house fire Sunday night on Wiginton Road in Buffalo Tonwship. Order a Print
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Photo courtesy of WPXI
Lisa Marie Hewitt and her son, Timothy Adam Hewitt Jr. died in the Sunday night fire at their home.

A Buffalo Township woman and her 5-year-old son died Sunday night after they were trapped in their burning home as her husband and firefighters watched helplessly.

Lisa Marie Hewitt, 27, and the couple’s son, Timothy Adam Hewitt Jr., were found after firefighters from several departments extinguished the fire on Wigington Road. The two were found together in what may have been a second-floor bedroom, said Washington County Coroner Tim Warco.

“It was fully involved even before the first truck got on the scene,” said Pat O’Brien, assistant chief of the Taylorstown Volunteer Fire Department.

Lisa Hewitt apparently called her husband, Timothy Adam Hewitt Sr., at 11:07 p.m. Sunday and told him they were trapped and could not get out, said Trooper Sarah Teagarden, who is investigating their deaths. The mother then called 911 to report the fire but the line went dead.

“She had called her husband about 10:30 p.m. and said that she had just given the boy a bath,” Teagarden said. “Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. Then she called to say she was trapped.”

Timothy Hewitt started his shift driving a water truck at 6 p.m. and had come home about 8 p.m. for dinner. Hewitt, who is also a member of the Taylorstown fire department, came back after getting the call from his wife and saw his home burning, Teagarden added. He had to be taken to Washington Hospital for treatment of a medical emergency but returned later Monday morning.

A firefighter tried to enter the home but was turned back by the fire.

“The house was burning from everywhere,” O’Brien said. “We had to fight it all from the outside. The house collapsed.”

O’Brien said the house was set far off the road. Firefighters had to lay 2,500 feet of hose to reach the house.

Trooper Steven Thompson, the state police fire marshal, said the cause of the fire is not suspicious. He said it appears to have started in the living room of the two-story frame house. The Hewitts had lived in the house for about two years, renting from Helene and Ludwig Brand.

Timothy Hewitt Jr. was in kindergarten at Claysville Elementary School, and is the second member of the kindergarten class to die this year. Taylor Stout, 5, of West Finley, died in a car crash last month.

“The McGuffey School District has suffered yet another tragic loss,” said Beverly Arbore, district superintendent, in a statement released Monday afternoon. “The McGuffey School District staff, students and community are again deeply saddened and our sympathy and heartfelt prayers are extended to Timothy’s father and family.”

Letters were sent home to the parents of the boy’s classmates so they were made aware of the loss. Counselors will be available at the school Tuesday and throughout the week.

“The administration and staff have had an emotionally draining start to the school year,” Arbore said. “It is very difficult to deal with these losses. We feel helpless at times like this, but the McGuffey community is very caring and will do everything possible to provide comfort and support to the Hewitt family.”

This is not the first tragedy for the family. Timothy Hewitt’s father died in a farm accident in 2006 and their 4-month-old daughter died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2010.

Jeff Yates, director of Washington County’s Department of Public Safety, said the veteran dispatcher who was on the telephone with Lisa Hewitt will be offered counseling.

“It is a hard position,” Yates said.

A puppy the boy received for his fifth birthday in August also died in the fire.

Assisting Taylorstown were firefighters from Canton, Morris, North Franklin and South Franklin townships, Claysville and West Alexander.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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