UPDATE: Faulty coal furnace cause of Gallitzin Township house fire, officials say

Jan. 3—ASHVILLE, Pa. — A faulty coal furnace was to blame for a Gallitzin Township house fire Monday, Ashville fire officials said.

The blaze, which caused significant damage, temporarily displaced the Rabbit Street property's homeowner, but the American Red Cross is assisting, fire Chief Joe Racz said.

The damage could have been worse, he said.

The fire occurred in the rural village of Buckhorn, where water sources are scarce. But Ashvile's department, which has dealt with fires in the neighborhood in the past, prepared for it by working with neighboring departments on a "tanker task force" partnership to ensure there would be adequate water on site.

"And it worked flawlessly," Racz said.

Gallitzin, Cresson, Loretto and Lilly, as well as a rig team from Portage assisted at the scene, along with three Blair County departments — Newburg, United and Allegheny Township.

Racz said some of the departments were called in to back up local departments whose main task was to secure and haul water to the site.

The fire was mostly contained to one interior room and the one-story home's attic space, but caused significant interior and exterior damage, including smoke damage throughout the structure, he said.

The occupant was able to escape the home on his own, Racz said.

No injuries were reported while battling the fire.