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MERCER Family flees while fire engulfs house



Published: Thu, March 13, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The blaze was detected and reported by an alarm company, officials said.

MERCER, Pa. -- James and Kimberly DeMarco and their four children were enjoying their hot tub in the basement when fire broke out in their home at 287 Highland Road in Jefferson Township.

Tom King, Jefferson Township fire chief, said the DeMarcos had a fire alarm system linked to an alarm company. The smoke detector alerted the company around 8:50 p.m. Sunday and an employee called the DeMarco home. It was then when the family went upstairs and discovered the house full of smoke, he said.

King said a Jefferson Township police officer called to the scene helped the family get to safety and no one was injured.

Flames were coming out the windows of the multilevel house when fire crews arrived, King said.

The house is a total loss, and a state police fire marshal has been called in to help determine the cause of the blaze, he said. The fire started somewhere on the first floor, he added.

King said firefighters' efforts were hampered by a strong wind and single-digit temperatures.

The nearest fire hydrant at Zahniser Road and U.S. Route 62 was frozen, requiring firefighters to travel a short distance to a second working hydrant to keep the water supply flowing.

King said there were enough pumpers hauling water from the hydrant to the scene and firefighters never lacked for water.

One Jefferson Township firefighter suffered a knee injury when he slipped on some ice.

Crews from Clark, Mercer East End, Fredonia, Hermitage and Transfer assisted at the scene.




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