FORWARD TWP — A fast-moving fire destroyed a house Tuesday morning on rural Horseshoe Lane along the Connoquenessing Creek.
Neighbors watched from a distance as the single story cottage went up in flames just before 10 a.m.
Smoke billowed from the structure at 129 Horseshoe Lane as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, which shot out from all sides of the structure.
Kraig Martin, who lived at the property for nearly a decade, wasn't home at the time of the blaze.
Neighbors Dave Burkle and Cathy Lee stood across a dirt road from the structure and watched it burn. Evans City fire Chief Mark Adomaitis deemed the home a total loss.
Lee said she called Martin, who she said was working a construction job in Beaver County, to tell him the house was on fire.
She said Martin blamed the fire on a space heater he left plugged in to warm the house.
Adomaitis confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the heater had sparked the blaze.
“Basically it was an old cottage down there that he was renovating at the time,” the chief said. “He just left the heater on before work. We had the fire under control in 30 minutes, but it's a total loss.”
Adomaitis said fire crews were hampered because there are not any fire hydrants in the area. Crews instead relied on tankers transporting water to the property.
The chief said Martin doesn't have insurance.
Crews were able to save a vehicle near the cottage.
Crews from Callery, Connoquenessing Valley, Evans City, Harmony, Meridian and Zelienople responded to the scene.