Two killed in Salem Township house fire

Two people were killed in a house fire in Westmoreland County on Sunday.

The fire was reported at a home on the 1600 block of Route 819 in Salem Township at around 12:53 a.m.

The Westmoreland County Coroner’s office identified the victims as 57-year-old David Staats and 84-year-old Helena Staats.

“When we arrived the house was fully involved– flames coming out of every window,” said Forbes Road Fire Chief Bob Rosatti.

Rosatti said that the roof collapsed moments after the firefighter’s arrival and they were unable to enter due to the flames.

“There were two vehicles in the driveway which lead us to believe that there was somebody in there, but given the conditions of the fire there was nothing we could have done,” he said.

Once crews were able to knock the initial fire down and make the conditions somewhat safer, they were able to get closer to the home, according to Rosatti.

“We brought an aerial apparatus in and it was putting water down from the top and we found one victim,” he said. “We had to have an excavator come in and remove the debris from the structure to find the second victim.”

The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but Rosatti said he doesn’t believe it was suspicious.

Source: Two killed in Salem Township house fire