It was the strangest Easter Sunday North Beaver Township Fire Chief Paul Henry ever spent.

He was called to a house fire just after 2 p.m. Sunday, but when he arrived, the chief found a shotgun pointed at him and was told, “Let it burn.”

“It wasn’t the best feeling I’ve ever had on an Easter Sunday,” said Henry, the first firefighter to arrive at the site on New Road.

Five volunteer companies turned out in record numbers Sunday, he said, but could only watch as a house burned down.

The crews were held at bay by Ronald Covert, 53, of Negley, Ohio, who pointed a shotgun at firefighters, preventing them from acting.

“He stood in the corner of the property and watched it burn down,” Henry said.

Firefighters called the state police when they realized they would not be able to get to the blaze, the chief said.

“There was no shooting,” Henry noted. “The only shot fired was the one that Covert used to kill himself.”

After that, Henry said, the firefighters went in to do what they could, but it was too late.

He added this is the first time in his 24 years as a firefighter he has experienced anything like this.

Coincidentally, Henry noted, “My first fire was Easter Sunday 1988.”

The chief said firefighters remained at the scene until 5:30 p.m. He added the 16 North Beaver Township firefighters were joined by companies from Springfield, Ohio, and New Beaver, Wampum and Enon Valley.

“We had an exceptional turnout.”

Although the state police fire marshal was at the scene, Henry said, no ruling was announced Sunday. The home was destroyed, but the chief had no estimate on its value Monday morning.

Henry, who is also a North Beaver Township supervisor, said he knows the homeowner, but not Covert.

“I understand that until recently he lived there.”

Henry added two small dogs were not accounted for Sunday and said they may have perished in the blaze.

“A bloodhound was outside. He just sat there,” Henry said. “We gave him some water, then the family came and took him away.”


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