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Fire official fights fire at his own house

January 4, 2014 News Extra

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ZELIENOPLE — The president of the Zelienople Volunteer Fire Department found himself battling a fire Friday night at his own house.

Edward Grunnagle, who has spent about 30 years with the department, was one of about 35 firefighters who responded his 306 Hazel Street home shortly after 8 p.m.

Fire Chief Rob Reeb said Saturday morning that the fire started in a roughly 26 by 30-foot garage.

While the cause of the fire is not yet known, Reeb said the fire caused a 150-gallon propane tank behind the garage to explode, spreading the flames to Grunnagle’s mobile home, which is a few feet away.

“There was about 75 percent damage to the house,” Reeb said.

Grunnagle’s wife, Diane, was home at the time, but escaped without injury.

Grunnagle was not home when the fire started. He had left his house shortly before to work on a fire engine at the Zelienople fire station.

Reeb said Grunnagle assisted in battling the blaze when he returned to his house.

“He told me it was a totally different feeling when you hear that it’s your house,” Reeb said. “He said he couldn’t describe how it felt.”

Grunnagle has insurance on the home and the garage. Reeb did not put an estimate on the value of the damages, but said it could be a total loss.

Reeb said the Grunnagles had multiple offers Friday night on temporary housing.

Units from the Cranberry Township and Harmony volunteer fire departments assisted at the scene.

All units were cleared by 11:43 p.m.

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