New Castle News

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January 20, 2012

Update: House fire kills mother, daughter

NEW CASTLE — A woman and her 8-year-old daughter died Friday morning as a fire swept through their Shenango Township home.

Lisa Oliver, 30, and Katherine May Thomas, 8, were pronounced dead at the scene at 3:30 a.m. Friday by Lawrence County Deputy Coroner Rich Johnson.

Another child, Amber McClaren, 11, escaped from the burning house. She told Shenango Township police her mother had dropped her from a second-story window.

She suffered extensive burns of the head, face and hands, according to Johnson. She was taken to Jameson Hospital, then flown to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she is reported to be in stable condition.

Lawrence County Coroner Russell Noga said Oliver and her daughter have been taken to The Medical Center in Beaver, where autopsies will be performed Friday.

Johnson said the woman’s husband, Hector Oliver, who is not the father of either girl, was at work at Jameson Hospital when the fire broke out about 1:30 a.m.

The second floor of the building had collapsed, according to Johnson, and Oliver and her daughter were found in the rubble on the first floor at the back of the building.

The Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal has been contacted to determine the cause of the blaze.

Shenango police officer Dan Tressler said although the cause of the fire is undetermined, there is no evidence of foul play.

Fire departments from Shenango, Taylor and Slippery Rock townships, South New Castle Borough and New Castle responded to 2012 Moravia St. The house was fully involved when firefighters arrived, they said.

A New Castle firefighter said his department had provided two pumper trucks to set up a supply line.

By 8 a.m. Friday, the scene of the fire was silent. But water was still flowing onto Moravia Street and down the hill, creating icy conditions on the grade.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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