Fire destroys home

Allegheny Twp. house empty when blaze broke out; family dog missing

On most any other night, six people — including three children — would have been sleeping inside the Keller home along Oak Avenue in Allegheny Town­­­ship that was consumed by flames early Saturday.

“Thank God I didn’t go home,” said Nikki Keller, who had plans to go home Friday night but opted to stay over at a friend’s house because she was tired.

“It went up fast,” Keller said of the blaze that destroyed her parents’ home at 6199 Oak Ave., where she lives with her three children, at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

The children were staying at their father’s house while Keller’s parents, Steven and Kandy Keller, are on a camping trip in Canada.

The 37-year-old Keller said the fire inspector told her that the fire likely started in the basement and spread up through the walls.

The house, where the family has lived for 20 years, was fully engulfed in flames by the time someone called 911, and it was very likely no one would have had time to get out, she was told.

The family dog, an 11-year-old Maltese named Toby, is still missing. Keller said there was no sign of him in the debris of the fire, although it would be hard to find anything due to the extent of the damage.

“We can’t find him anywhere in the house,” Keller said, adding that they remain hopeful that Toby managed to get out of the house and run off. The dog is tattooed, so if Toby is found by someone, she hopes that they contact the Central Penn­sylvania Humane Society.

Donations for the family are being taken at the Allegheny Township Fire Department, and already the support from the community has been overwhelming, Keller said.

“I just appreciate — everybody is pouring out donations,” Keller said. “I’m in shock. I’m very grateful.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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