New Castle News


February 14, 2012

Kielbasa Blaze: Smokehouse catches fire on East Side

NEW CASTLE — It might have been the best-smelling blaze the New Castle fire department ever put out.

Firefighters responded about 11:30 a.m. Monday to 817 E. Lutton St. It was there that Cash Koszela was using applewood to smoke about 200 pounds of kielbasa in a backyard smokehouse when the operation overheated.

Three trucks and an ambulance responded. Firefighters rescued the sausage.

Koszela said he had preheated the smokehouse, “but it got too hot.”

The temperature was about 300 degrees, he said, but when he opened the door to drop the temperature, he saw flames inside. He said he threw some snow into the building and called the fire department.

Koszela also had a fire extinguisher in his garage, next to the shed. He did not use it.

He said his sausage spent only three hours in the smoke, usually, he said, four hours are required. “It’s done, and it doesn’t appear to be burned,” he said of his product.

The smokehouse is about 20 feet square, Koszela said, and estimated it would cost $2,500 to $3,000 to replace it. He plans to rebuild and estimates he’ll be back in business within two weeks.

“As soon as things dry out.”

Koszela told the firefighters he has been smoking sausage for 30 to 35 years and “this is only the second time this has happened.”

He said he believes neighborhood kids were responsible for the first fire, which was about 18 to 20 years ago.

“I was still working,” the retired meat cutter said. “I got a call at work. I thought it was my house that was burning down. I told them ‘Call the fire department.’”

Firefighters said they are amazed at the ingenious system Koszela has rigged.

The concrete fire pit, outside and behind the smokehouse, pipes smoke into the shed, which firefighters said is an old, tin-lined walk-in cooler surrounded by wood siding on a concrete pad. Firefighters dismantled the shed in the course of controlling the blaze, careful not to damage the tin interior.

Fireman Craig Wethli said the problem Monday was a grease fire.

“It started on the floor (of the smokehouse) then, as the heat built, the flames went up the insulation to the roof.”

Assistant fire chief David Joseph said he accepts Koszela’s assessment that the smoker just got too hot.

“The heat builds up in these things,” he said. Then, noting the smell of smoked meat in the air added, “This is definitely the best-smelling fire we’ve seen in a long time.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results