Fire causes remain undetermined

October 30, 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 on Wigginton Road in Buffalo Tonwship Sunday night. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Dee and John Lesneski in front of their Buffalo Township home, which was destroyed by fire Monday night for the second time. Order a Print

The causes of two fires that destroyed two Buffalo township homes earlier this week, including one Sunday night in which a mother and her 5-year-old son were killed, remain undetermined but neither is considered criminal or suspicious.

Lisa Marie Hewitt, 27, and her 5-year-old son, Timothy Hewitt Jr., died when they were trapped by fire in a second floor bedroom of their home at 85 Wigington Road. She called her husband about 11:07 p.m. to tell him they were trapped just before calling the 911 center to report the fire. The line went dead when she was on the telephone with a dispatcher.

State police said their bodies were found inside the rubble Monday morning at 5:21 a.m. Washington County Coroner Tim Warco ruled the cause of both deaths as smoke inhalation.

Firefighters from Taylorstown and surrounding communities had just left the home on Wigington after that fire rekindled when they were called to the home of John and Dee Lesneski and their son, Max, at 365 Reese Road. Firefighters arrived within minutes, but the two-story house was already engulfed in flames. The Lesneskis were able to escape the house unharmed before the flames spread through their home.

Trooper Steven Thompson, the state police fire marshal investigating the fatal fire, said it is possible investigators may never know exactly what caused it. He, along with insurance investigators, will return to the scene within the next several days to go through the remains.

A wood-burning stove and electrical problems were suggested as possible causes. Thompson said they will look at those as possible factors of the investigation.

Trooper S.L. Jones, the state police fire marshal looking into the fire at the Lesneski home, said he determined there is no criminal indicator regarding the cause. He said insurance investigators have the resources, such as heavy equipment, to look deeper into the cause.

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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