Mt. Pleasant Twp. home gutted by fire

February 25, 2014
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
The home of Harold and Betty Purdy was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning on Culley Lane in Mt. Pleasant Township. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
A pine tree is coated in ice from water used to fight a fire early Tuesday morning in Mt. Pleasant Township. Order a Print

The Mt. Pleasant Township home of a veteran McDonald police officer and his wife was gutted by a fire early Tuesday.

Harold Purdy told Mt. Pleasant first assistant fire Chief Jay Turner he was watching television in his home on Culley Lane about 2:15 a.m. when he heard a popping noise and discovered a fire in the breezeway between his house and garage. Purdy and his wife, Betty Purdy, were able to escape along with their pets. She was sleeping in the bedroom when the fire started.

“It was fully involved when we pulled up,” Turner said.

Fire crews had to lay 1,000 feet of hose from a hydrant to reach the house. The township road department was called to put down salt at the fire scene.

Both Purdy and his wife were taken to Canonsburg Hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation. A Mt. Pleasant firefighter also was treated and released for a minor injury after slipping on the ice at the scene, said Mt. Pleasant police Chief Lou McQuillan.

Trooper Steven Thompson, the state police fire marshal, determined the fire started in the breezeway. While the cause of the fire has not been determined, it is not considered suspicious. Thompson said the fire, which destroyed the garage and gutted the house, caused $200,000 in damage.

Turner said Purdy was able to get his vehicles out of the garage but a motorcycle and riding lawn mower stored there were destroyed.

Purdy, who retired as the police officer in the Fort Cherry School District, has been a McDonald police officer for more than 30 years. McQuillan said the Purdys are well known in the area.

“Everyone wants to help them,” McQuillan said.

Assisting at the scene were firefighters from McDonald, Midway and Cecil No. 3. Firefighters from Slovan and Sturgeon were on standby.

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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