Fire Calls

A McGrath Manor resident is seeking a new home after he allegedly burned boxes in his shower.

The New Castle Fire Department was called to McGrath Manor at 814 W. Washington St. around noon Wednesday, told that flames could be seen running up walls.

When firefighters arrived, they entered Apartment 511, which was filled with smoke. Crews immediately began knocking holes into walls, but found no flames.

The apartment resident, Wallace Peiffer, 19, told firefighters he had burned some cardboard boxes on the floor of his shower.

David Joseph, assistant fire chief, who said Peiffer had admitted to him what had happened, noted he was relieved and delighted to learn the origin of the fire and that it had been confined to the shower and not spreading within the walls of the eight-story apartment building.

Others who were not as pleased included David Viggiano, fire investigator with the New Castle Police Department, and Gene DiGennaro, executive director of the Lawrence County Housing Authority, which owns the building.

DiGennaro confirmed Peiffer has been evicted and will be moving his personal items out of the building. He noted Peiffer had lived at McGrath Manor for only a few months.

DiGennaro estimated the fire will cost the authority about $10,000 in repairs. He said the entire bathroom must be replaced as well as portions of the bedroom floor and ceiling tiles.

At one time, he noted, the complex had been reserved for senior citizens. A few years ago, he said, it was opened to the general population.

Joseph noted the smoke detectors of the affected apartment had been pulled out. He also said firefighters went through the building to determine the blaze had not spread to any other units or any other floors. He said he remained at the scene for about 45 minutes.

The entire building had to be evacuated.

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