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Dog dies in Forward Township fire

Firefighters exit a home on Ash Stop Road in Forward Township after a basement fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

FORWARD TWP — One dog died, one occupant was sent to Allegheny Hospital and a cat went missing due to a basement fire that occurred at the 100 block of Ash Stop Road on Tuesday, April 2.

According to Evans City Area Volunteer Fire Department Chief Matthew Otto, the fire, reported around 12:30 p.m., caused a “substantial amount of damage” even though the fire was contained to the basement.

“The fire was smoldering in the basement and caused a lot of smoke,” Otto said. “There is damage to the house from the smoke and the water.”

The owner’s dog died before first responders arrived on the scene, and one of the residents was taken to an Allegheny County hospital as a precaution due to excessive exposure to smoke, according to Otto.

“The occupants said that there was a fire inside the house, but did not know where it was coming from,” Otto said. “When we arrived, they were attempting to get the animals and themselves out.”

Five of the six cats had been found and were taken to a veterinarian by the owner of the house, Tina Zajacs. One cat was missing, Otto said Tuesday afternoon.

Otto confirmed that the source of the fire came from the basement, but the cause of the fire was unknown. The fire marshal would investigate, he said.

The homeowner was put in touch with the American Red Cross.

Also on the scene were emergency responders from Callery, Connoquenessing, Harmony and Adams Township.

Firefighters exit a home on Ash Stop Road in Forward Township after a structure fire was reported on Tuesday, April 2. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Tina Zajacs speaks with firefighters outside her home on Ash Stop Road in Forward Township after a structure fire was reported on Tuesday, April 2. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Several fire departments lined Ash Stop Road after a structure fire was reported on Tuesday, April 2. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Firefighters prepare to enter a home on Ash Stop Road in Forward Township after a structure fire was reported on Tuesday, April 2. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

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