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Family escapes Harrisville house fire; 3 cats die

June 2, 2020 News Extra

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A firefighter check a home after battling a house fire at about 10:10 a.m. Tuesday on East Mercer Street in Harrisville.

No one was injured but three cats died after fire destroyed a house next to the Harrisville fire station on East Mercer Street this morning.

Six people were home but they all got out safely, along with six dogs, at about 10:20 a.m. when they discovered fire coming from the game room at the ranch-style house. A fourth cat that was originally missing was later found.

Ronna Gralitzer-Brite, who owns the house and lives there with her husband, two children, three grandchildren and her ex-husband, was coming home from the store when she learned of the fire.

“My son called,” she said. “He was screaming, 'The house is on fire. The house is on fire.'”

Her husband, Steve Brite, was visiting a friend in New Castle, when the fire started. He raced home on his motorcycle after he was told what happened.

Volunteer firefighters from Harrisville, Slippery Rock and several other departments battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire is unknown but not believed to be suspicious, officials said.

Firefighters gave oxygen to one of the cats but it died along with two cats.

The house, valued at more than $200,000, was insured.

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