Apr. 4—An Upper Yoder Township police officer was treated for smoke inhalation after rescuing a family from a burning home Saturday in Ferndale — and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, fire officials said.
Fire broke out at 5:41 p.m. in a vacant house in the 500 block of Vickroy Avenue.
The fire jumped to the second floor bedroom of the house next door that was occupied by a man and woman and their dog, according to Upper Yoder police Chief Donald Hess.
"The whole place just went up like that," Vickroy neighbor Ray Gorham, said, snapping his fingers.
Gorham's family saw their home's siding melted due to intense heat damage.
"It could've been worse though," he said.
Two Upper Yoder police officers arrived first and evacuated one neighboring family, Hess said.
Homes at either side of the blaze suffered damage as well as a car parked alongside the road.
The officer taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Franklin Street was treated in the emergency room for smoke inhalation and later released, the chief said.
As of Sunday, the cause and source of the fire remained under investigation, West Hills Fire Chief Rob Tauber said.
Three juveniles were seen running from the fire, Hess said, adding that a fire marshal was also investigating.
Gorham said he'd been airing concerns for the past three years to the borough about the vacant property being "wide open" to intruders.
Apparently the property was abandoned by its owner years prior and is now going through foreclosure, he said.
Firefighters from Upper Yoder, Lower Yoder and Richland townships responded along with Riverside, Colver Hill and Johnstown.
EMS crews from Upper Yoder and Conemaugh townships responded.