Fire destroys another Buffalo Township home

Second time since 1997 flames level residence on Reese Road

Photo of Mike Jones
by Mike Jones
Staff writer
Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Dee and John Lesneski, above, in front of their Buffalo Township home Tuesday morning after the home was destroyed by fire for the second time Monday night. A fire in November 1997 leveled their home at the same site. At left, Dee Lesneski shows a video of flames engulfing her family’s home on her tablet. Order a Print

Fire destroyed another home in Buffalo Township late Monday night, less than 24 hours after a deadly blaze killed a mother and her young son.

Taylorstown firefighters were just leaving the scene at Wigington Road after the charred remnants rekindled about 10:30 p.m. Monday when they were called to another blaze at 365 Reese Road.

Taylorstown Assistant Fire Chief Pat O’Brien said they were on scene in three minutes, but found the two-story home fully engulfed in flames. All three people living in the home made it out safely, but the residence was destroyed, O’Brien said.

John Lesneski, 56, said he was sleeping upstairs when he thought he heard an explosion in the basement. He nearly went back to sleep, but his wife, Dee, yelled to him and he saw fire on one side of the house. The couple and their 20-year-old son, Max, escaped unharmed before flames engulfed the home.

It’s the second time in 16 years that fire destroyed the family’s home at that location. The previous home burned down in November 1997, but Lesneski and his brother-in-law built a new house in six months.

He’s unsure what the family will do now, although the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania is assisting the family.

“I never thought I’d have to go through it again,” Lesneski said, “and I don’t know if I can.”

Firefighters and the state police marshal returned to the scene around noon Tuesday to investigate. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The past two days have been especially exhausting for Taylorstown volunteer firefighters and other crews that assisted during the two late-night fires. Lisa Marie Hewitt and her 5-year-old son Timothy Hewitt Jr. died late Sunday night when they couldn’t escape their Wigington Road home after the first floor caught fire.

“We’re worn out,” O’Brien said. “Between guys working and doing this, everyone’s exhausted.”

The state police fire marshal is investigating and did not release the cause of that fire or where it originated.

Meanwhile, donations are being accepted for Timothy Hewitt Sr., who was not home during the fatal fire, at any Community Bank branch in Washington, Greene or Allegheny counties. People should make donations to the Timothy Hewitt Sr. Benefit Fund at any branch or send checks to the Claysville bank branch at 200 Main St., Claysville, PA 15323.