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WATCH VIDEO | Child, teen die in fast-moving house fire in Moxham

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Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees looks into the fatal fire scene at the 700 block of Highland Ave., in Moxham on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A child and a teenager died in a fast-moving fire that gutted a two-story house on Highland Avenue in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood early Wednesday.

When firefighters arrived to battle the 1:30 a.m. blaze, they found three homes on fire.

Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees describes the scene at a Johnstown fire on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, that killed two people.

Six people lived in the home where the fire started. Four got out, with one transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees said.

“One child was found dead on the second floor, and we had a teenager who was just pulled from the first floor,” Lees said Wednesday morning.

Identities of the victims were not released.

“It was very difficult to get to the individual because of the roof and the second floor collapsed onto the first floor,” Lees said.


Firefighters from Johnstown and West Hills at the scene of a fatal fire along the 700 block of Highland Avenue, in Moxham on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

Autopsies on the two victims were scheduled for Wednesday.

DNA and dental records may be needed to confirm their identities, Lees said.

“It was a very fast-moving fire,” he said.

A state police fire marshal was at the scene taking photographs to determine the cause.

Neighbor Brandon Offman said he awoke to find the house across the street in flames and called 911.

“I heard a boom,” he said. “I ran out in my bare feet and called 911. I said there was a fully involved structure fire with entrapment.

“I stood in front of the house and screamed because I was going to run in there in my bare feet,” Offman said.

“I’m going to remember this day for the rest of my life.”


Johnstown firefighters search inside the home at 700 block of Highland Ave. in Moxham on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

City firefighters were joined by crews from Richland Township and West Hills. West End EMS, 7th Ward Ambulance, Upper Yoder Township and Riverside EMS were at the scene.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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