Fairview house destroyed; no injuries in morning fire

A Saturday morning fire destroyed a Fairview house and badly damaged another, leaving charred rubble strewn around a collapsed front porch and scorch marks on neighboring homes.

No one was hurt in the blaze, firefighters said. The Pine Avenue house where the fire began was uninhabited, while the badly damaged home next door was more than three years into an extensive renovation, said owner Dan Feather, who lives elsewhere in Altoona.

“It’s not the kind of phone call you want to get,” Feather said as he surveyed the damage from the second house’s badly burned porch. “I had no clue. The first word I got was, ‘Your house is on fire.'”

Firefighters received the call about 6:35 a.m., Acting Ladder Truck Captain Tim Kleiner said. While they got the blaze under control shortly afterward, responders were still in the building when the damaged front porch collapsed, he said.

Kleiner said the fire’s cause is under investigation. The city fire inspector has an idea of its likely cause, Kleiner said, but couldn’t address the matter Saturday.

Feather noted that the house where the fire began – which has been uninhabited and largely empty for at least a year – lacked a furnace or active utilities. Investigators appeared to inspect a metal canister on the porch Saturday, he said.

Feather said he had hoped to move into the now-damaged house, which relatives had improved over several years. He said he would likely receive word today on whether it can be salvaged.

A house to the right, which neighbors said remains inhabited, bore dark burn marks and a melted porch lattice.