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NEW CASTLE Fire causes house to collapse, fall down hill



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Water flooded basements of two homes below the fire.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Fire officials are investigating a blaze that caused a house to collapse and tumble down a hill early today.

The two-story wood house crumbled minutes after firefighters walked out of it, sending parts of it down about a 20-foot slope, said New Castle Fire Chief James Donston.

Owners Charles and Debbie Miller were inside 123 N. Walnut St. when the blaze started before 1:30 a.m. today.

Firefighters suspect the fire started in a pile of rubble next door and caught onto the Miller's wood-frame house.

The rubble was from 125 N. Walnut St., which collapsed Sunday under the weight of heavy rain, Donston said. That house had been condemned by the city and was set to be razed this week, he added.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Robert Ryhal is investigating. He could not be reached this morning.

Firefighters were still working on the smoldering remains of the Miller house at 8 this morning, Donston said.

Firefighters and city officials also were working with two homeowners on Croton Avenue. Water used to extinguish the blaze caused their basements to flood with about 6 inches of water this morning, Donston said.




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