Big fire burns in Logan Hills | News, Sports, Work

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04/17/22 Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski / Numerous crews responded to a fire in the apartment and rescue in a Logan Hills Apartments building around 6:45 p.m.


A fire on Sunday evening at Logan Hills Apartments on Fairway Drive sent a man and woman to the UPMC Altoona and left about 24 others temporarily homeless.

Firefighters rescued the woman from the burning couple’s apartment – giving her a second-floor window and knocking her unconsciously down a pair of stairs.

Shortly before her rescue, the man fell to the ground from the same window after hanging himself with one arm tied at the threshold, sitting on his feet and slamming his back against the building wall, according to Altoona Fire Assistant Chief Michael Hawksworth and a neighbor couple.

The woman was not breathing when she reached the ground, but AMED staff revived her that Easter night and she was conscious when they headed to the hospital, according to fire chief Tim Hileman.

The man was conscious and vigilant after his fall, though he had difficulty breathing, Hileman said.

Firefighters entered the apartment to rescue the woman without holding a hose to bring down the fire, although firefighters outside were able to “Invite the room” pre-sending water through windows, Hileman said.

The first crew arrived about 3.5 minutes after the 18:37 alarm, the second immediately after, and all 13 firefighters from all four fire stations in the city were at the scene within five minutes, according to Hileman and Hawksworth.

The rapid arrival of many firefighters, along with the help of city police and AMED staff with escalators and hoses, was critical to rescuing and preventing the spread of fire through the roof to other buildings connected to the complex, according to Hileman and Hawksworth. .

The couple’s dog died from the fire.

Cheryl Roderka and Maurice Cummings live in the second-floor apartment next to the one that burned down and realized there was a problem when they heard a scream, “Call 911”, they said – standing outside the tree-lined police bar as firefighters cleared the scene about an hour after the alarm.

Roderka realized there was a fire after he went outside and saw the man living in the other apartment, Ned Shoenberger Jr., leaning out of his living room window, with flames appearing behind him, Roderka and Cummings said.

Roderka asked Schoenberger where his fiancée, Janna Schoch, was.

She is on the floor, said Ned, who was confused and shocked.

Can you get it? asked Roderka.

He tried, but could not lift it, Roderka said.

So Roderka persuaded Schoenberger to jump out, Roderka said.

Schoch and Shoenberger’s dog, a pit bull-Lab named Karma, was in a cage, according to Roderka and Cummings.

All occupants of all apartments in the mansion where the fire broke out will need additional housing for several months or more while repairs are made, according to Hileman.

Logan Hills office staff will also have to relocate for a while, as their office was directly below the apartment that burned down, according to Hileman.

There are five apartments on the first and second floors of the building, as well as basement apartments, according to Hileman and Joshua Burick, who lives with Elizabeth Brower and two daughters in the second-floor apartment after the one that burned down.

The Red Cross was expected to arrange temporary shelter for displaced people, Hileman said.

Burick and Brower were waiting outside as it was getting dark Sunday for permission to re-enter their apartment in order to get some items, especially clothing for their 1 and 4 year old daughters.

They were away from home when the fire started.

Burick had gone to Rose Hill Cemetery to say an Easter prayer.

He turned to look at the mess after the fire and when he saw that he had involved Schoch and Shoenberger’s apartment, he was “sick”, he said.

Shortly before he and Brower left that afternoon, they had spoken with Schoch, they said.

The fire was apparently accidental, though Deputy Chief Adam Free will investigate, Hileman said.

He has no idea why, Hileman said.

Maybe it was burned for 10 or 15 minutes before the alarm went off, he thought.

The damage could be around $ 100,000, Hileman estimated.

The apartment where the fire broke out will have to be completely renovated, he said.

The office below has received water damage.

Logan Hills ownership has insurance for the building, he predicted.

In addition to the 13 firefighters on duty when the alarm came, plus Hileman and Free, who also responded, 10 other firefighters were called in to help, according to Hileman.

Rescue Army, Water Authority Altoona and Penelec were on stage.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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