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7 lose homes as fire destroys 5 buildings



Published: Fri, March 28, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



MOUNT JEWETT, Pa. (AP) -- Fire destroyed five buildings that housed three businesses and five apartments.

Seven people lived in the apartments and escaped unharmed. Firefighters rescued a father and his two young children from the second floor of one apartment.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated at Kane Community Hospital and released.

John Wygant, Ridgway Volunteer Fire Department chief, said the fire was intense.

Fire broke out about 12:40 a.m. Monday.

The businesses housed a bowling alley, coin-operated laundry and law office.

Firefighters used so much water that they drained Mount Jewett's tanks, which forced the cancellation of classes Monday at the Mount Jewett Elementary School.

Water had to be brought in by fire departments outside the area. Twenty-three fire companies responded from six counties.

State Police Fire Marshal Michael McCracken said the fire was electrical and started in the ceiling of the bowling alley.

Damage was estimated between $500,000 and $750,000.

Mount Jewett is located about 75 miles southeast of Erie in McKean County.




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