WJACTV.COM :: Elderly Woman Escapes Burning Home; Fire Ruled Arson

RIDGWAY – Officials are investigating a fire that occurred Wednesday on 521 W. Main St. in Ridgway.

According to Ridgway-based state police, the fire damaged a two-story residential building. Pauline E. Smith, 69, was home at the time of the fire and suffered minor injuries.

According to Gant news partner, WJACTV, Chief John Wygant of the Ridgway Fire Department told 6 News that crews arrived on scene at a home along West Main Street shortly after 5 a.m.

Upon arrival, the victim had made it out of the home.

Wygant said the victim, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, woke up early because she was having difficulty breathing.

“She got up and went downstairs and started to put her coffee on. She thought she heard some noises. She opened her back door a little bit, and the whole back porch was on fire,” said Wygant.

After being on scene for a short time, Wygant decided it would be best to call the fire marshal.

Wygant said the fire marshal brought a dog to help sniff for an accelerant.

Wygant said that the dog had a difficult time pinpointing where the fire started. 

After a few hours of investigating, a state police fire marshal ruled the fire an  arson.

Damage was estimated at $100,000; WJACTV.com reported the home was a total loss.

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