State police identified Sam Lawson as the man who died in Thursday’s house fire.
The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. at the 1½-story, Cape Cod-style home across the road from Eastmen Tire Supplies on Rockdale Road. The Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company appeared on site first. Two children were evacuated from the home before the structure became engulfed. The children were unharmed, according to state police and Lawson’s body was recovered from the home later.
Many other fire departments offered Saxonburg support, including help with shutting down a portion of Rockdale Road around the fire. Roughly 11 truckloads of water, about 33,000 gallons, were used on the fire, which appeared to rekindle with gusts of wind that stoked the fire from time to time.
State police said the outbreak of the fire didn’t appear to be suspicious but the cause and origin are still unknown as authorities continue to investigate it.
Within hours of the fire, a family friend started a fundraiser on GoFundMe, an online site for fundraisers. The funds would go towards food, clothing and other necessities, according to the mother of the Knoch High School student who started the fundraiser. The initiative was started by Hannah Hassler, a friend and fellow high school cheerleader of one of the Lawson children.
And the community appears to be responding, with $16,000 raised as of Friday morning.