Fire Severely Damages Uninsured Platea Home - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Fire Severely Damages Uninsured Platea Home

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A Girard home caught on fire on Sunday afternoon in the Platea Borough after a fireplace fire went wrong. The damage was extensive, and the house, uninsured.

One side of the house at 8600 Bateman Road is exposed to the winter elements. The chimney is deemed unstable and could collapse or tip over.

Elizabeth Gates lived alone in the house, but her two daughters and their families in the Erie area had planned to spend the holidays with their mother. Now, the family needs to find another place to spend Christmas.

"It's Christmas time and this is the last thing you'd want to happen before or after Christmas," said daughter Amy Thompson, who now lives in Erie.

Gates lost her job recently and was unable to keep up paying for homeowners insurance. The family is unsure how they will cover the costs of repairs.

"Now it's just everybody coming together to try to help out and do the best we can for her," Thompson said.

The home has been part of the family since 1926, when it was built. The plot of land, since 1896

"There's just a lot of childhood memories," said Thompson. The house was where she and her sister, Cassandra Burt, grew up. "At least my mom is okay, that's the important thing. Other things can be replaced," she said.

And there was a small token of consolation. Fire crews noticed the Christmas tree, and covered the presents with plastic to prevent water damage.

"There were presents under the tree and my mom was a little concerned about that, but they're safe," said Thompson.

While fire crews know the fire started in the chimney, the reason behind why the fireplace fire got out of hand is still being investigated.

"It could be numerous things - the chimney wasn't cleaned out, there was a break, or the fireplace malfunctioned," said Stan Freeland, the Platea fire chief.

There were no injuries from the fire.


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