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Apollo resident lucky that fire trucks were lined up for Vandergrift parade when house caught fire

August 23, 2018
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Fire trucks unload and draw water near the scene of a house fire on Wilson Way in Apollo on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2018.

One resident of an Apollo house that caught fire Saturday was treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns and at least one firefighter was treated and released for a minor injury, according to the Chad Gradwell, fire chief of Apollo Hose Company No. 3.

The blaze in the kitchen at 307 Wilson Way was caused by an electrical problem. It started just before 5:15 p.m., the chief said.

Firefighters were able to quickly get at the fire because of help from tanker fire trucks lining up Saturday for a parade in nearby Vandergrift for the 125th convention of the Western Pennsylvania Fireman’s Association.

That was a good thing because there was a water main break only a few hours earlier on Orr Avenue in neighboring Oklahoma Borough that knocked out the use of public water for firefighting, according to Apollo Mayor Cindee Virostek.

Gradwell said other nearby fire departments were also impacted and notified. So when he received the call about the Wilson Way fire, Gradwell knew he would need tanker trucks from other companies.

Gradwell called in nine departments that have tankers, plus had an additional company come for its manpower.

“We had everything available and already crewed-up because of the parade,” he said.

About 40 percent of the home was damaged by the fire, according to Gradwell.

The home, which used to be broken up into apartments, is a single residence where about nine people lived.

The smoke alarm sounded after the fire started in the kitchen. Everyone got out of the house, according to Gradwell.

However, one of the residents, an unidentified man, went back into the house and came back out when he was injured.

The chef said he was taken by ambulance to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

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