Fire leaves dozens homeless
Country Club Terrace blaze destroys apartments of more than 12 families
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A major fire destroyed half of an apartment building at the Country Club Terrace Apartments, leaving 12 families homeless and necessitating the overnight evacuation of 12 more families from the other half of the building.
The American Red Cross was on hand to assist all of those families with finding shelter.
There were no injuries to the occupants of the building, Geeseytown Volunteer Fire Chief Denny Walls said. Most of the occupants of the building were not home during the fire. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, he said, and one cat was missing.
The Country Club Terrace Apartments on Brush Mountain Road comprise several buildings with 24 apartments each.
The cause of the fire at Building 4 is still under investigation by a state police fire marshal. To those at the scene, it seemed to have started on the third floor of the building.
The roof was completely ripped off as firefighters worked through the evening to ensure nothing was still smoldering.
The initial call came to Geeseytown firefighters at 1 p.m., Walls said.
Gwen Black saw the fire from her second-floor balcony of Building 3, which is next to the building that caught fire.
“It was so horrible. I couldn’t believe it,” Black said, recalling dense smoke billowing from the building.
One of the first residents to see the fire was Debora Mowery, also of Building 3, who called the property manager and 911.
“I saw black smoke and called 911 right away,” she said.
Geeseytown Volunteer Fire Department was first-due at the scene and was assisted by several departments — some coming from as far as Huntingdon County.
In addition to ladder trucks, several tanker trucks were needed because hydrant access was limited, Walls said.
Walls said the first floor of the apartment building may be salvageable, but the second and third floors of Building 4 were consumed by fire.
Walls estimated the damage to the building at $250,000.