Commissioner aids in rescue

SHADYSIDE RESIDENT Norm Whitlach was working in his yard Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. when he noticed thick black smoke rolling out of the vents on the front of a neighbor’s house on West 42nd Street.

Whitlatch began yelling for someone to call 911 and was joined by another neighbor, Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland. The two saw flames coming from inside the front room blocking entry from the porch and began to check for another way inside.

“I saw Maggie and Misty go down the road 15 minutes before I saw the smoke,” Whitlatch said. “I knew they were not home, but Stan was still inside and most likely his little white dog, Cosmo.”

Whitlatch broke out a few windows and began yelling inside for his neighbor while Coffland went next door and brought a garden hose to spray water on the fire. “The neighbor was a little worried, she told us there were oxygen bottles inside the house and she thought they might explode.”

“We were looking for a ladder, we knocked out the back windows with a 2×4 and started yelling inside, I am hoarse from yelling, but finally we got Stan woke up and came to a side window and rolled out from there,”?Whitlatch said.

Whitlatch said that the family dog usually remained home with Stan but this time it had left with Maggie and fortunately was not home at the time of the fire.

When units from the Shadyside fire department arrived they found flames shooting out of the house and kicked in the front door to extinguish the fire.

Coffland and Whitlatch refused to accept the title of heroes.

“I don’t think we did anything special. It is just being a good neighbor. If that would happen to me, I would hope my neighbors would do the same thing.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.?No one was reported injured.

Palmer may be reached at