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Article published April 30, 2013
Fire at night damages house in city
Two brothers were left temporarily homeless Tuesday night after fire broke out and burned up an upstairs bedroom at their two-story house in Butler, authorities said. The blaze at 718 W. Penn St. is believed to be accidental, possibly caused by an overloaded electrical circuit, according to Butler Fire Chief Nick Ban. John Waddell was in the living room about 9:30 p.m. when he smelled and noticed light smoke. His brother, Tom Waddell, who also lives there, was not home. John Waddell went into the basement but found no fire. He checked the breaker box and saw that one of the circuits had been tripped, fire officials said. When Waddell went back upstairs, it appeared the smoke was thicker. He continued to the second floor and found more smoke. “He felt the door to his bedroom and it was hot,” Ban said. “He had a fire extinguisher there and opened the door slowly and saw fire in the area of the foot of the bed.” He used the extinguisher but to no avail. He closed the door and returned with two more fire extinguishers. But again, Waddell was as unable to put out the fire. He decided it was time to get out of the house. By then, neighbors called 911. City firefighters quickly snuffed out the blaze, containing the fire to Waddell’s rear bedroom. Ban suspects the fire started in an electrical outlet in that bedroom. Damage to the house is estimated at $20,000 and another $5,000 to its contents. The Butler chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the Waddells with temporary housing at a Butler Township motel.