A state police fire marshal was attempting to determine the cause of a fast-moving fire Wednesday that killed a woman and destroyed a two-story home in Mt. Pleasant Township.
The fire was reported just before 11 a.m. at 814 Arbor Lane in the village of Norvelt.
Westmoreland County Coroner Timothy Carson identified the woman killed as 62-year-old Alisa J. Richwine. She was pronounced dead at the scene. A determination of the cause and manner of her death is pending.
Firefighters found the Richwine’s body in a second-floor bedroom of the brick home, Norvelt fire Chief Matt Zelenak said.
“When I got here, (the house) was fully involved,” Zelenak said. “Flames were coming out the entire front.”
No other injuries were reported.
The coroner’s office, firefighters and state troopers from Troop A in Greensburg were still on the scene late Wednesday afternoon.
Neighbors who reported the blaze described flames and smoke showing along the narrow, dead-end road at the intersection with Magnolia Drive.
The residence, off West Laurel Circle, appeared to be destroyed. Part of the roof had collapsed, and a porch was completely charred.
Zelenak said breezy conditions fanned the flames. The National Weather Service said wind gusts Wednesday were between 17 and 21 mph but could reach as high as 37 mph.
Firefighters tapped nearby hydrants to contain the fire. They remained on the scene past 2:30 p.m. extinguishing hot spots with foam.
Firefighters from multiple central Westmoreland County fire departments and Everson in Fayette County responded.
Christie Martz, who lives across the street, described Richwine as “a very pleasant lady.”
“She was very personable, very nice,” Martz said.
She loved her home, which was more than a century old, Martz said.
“She loved gardening, baking and doing crafts, mostly home decorations, and always took time to say hello,” she said. “It’s tragic.”
Hoffer Funeral Home in Norvelt is handling arrangements.
Multiple central Westmoreland County fire departments were assisting Norvelt Volunteer Fire Department at a house fire along Arbor Lane in Mt. Pleasant Township. The fire was reported before 11 a.m. Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/IExaZBiwuX
— Paul Peirce (@ppeirce_trib) January 5, 2022
Three people were killed in fires in Westmoreland County last year, according to coroner statistics through Oct. 1. In 2020, four people died in fires, and one person was killed in 2019.