USA — A Beaver County man apparently succumbed to smoke and flames from burning foliage on Sunday afternoon in one of several brush fires crews handled across Western Pennsylvania.
This is truly tragic to have something like this happen, Deputy Coroner Bill Pasquale said. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday on the body of Wayne Rose, 81, of South Beaver, Pasquale said.
State police fire marshal David Jungling said that investigators believe that Rose was burning trash, sparking the brush fire that Rose may have been trying to extinguish when he was overcome.
A person heading to an Easter celebration with a next-door relative of Rose’s noticed smoke coming from his wooded property along Court Road just before 1 p.m., Pasquale said. Family went to Rose’s property, dialed 911 to summon firefighters, then found him in the middle of a hillside where the fire was burning. South Beaver police Officer Nathan Clendennen said investigators believe Rose’s death was accidental. The fire scorched about an acre of Rose’s property.
Dispatchers reported several small brush fires throughout the region, including some in Beaver, Lawrence, Butler and Westmoreland counties, fueled by wind and dry conditions.
Brad Rehak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon, said the region has gotten about a half-inch of rain in the past two weeks, nearly an inch below normal. Woods are filled with dead leaves and other debris from the harsh winter, he said.
No one was injured in a brush fire that burned about 3 acres of woods in Winfield in Butler County.
Five fire departments were dispatched about 2:15 p.m. to the fire off Iron Bridge Road at the South Buffalo Township line. Winfield fire Chief John Hartman said it took four brush trucks and two fire engines to combat the fire.
The blaze started, he said, when someone began burning brush around his pond. The person who started the fire won’t be cited, Hartman said.