TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR AUGUST 21ST, 2020

New Castle firefighters were called to the scene of a vacant house fire last night. The fire broke out just before 8 p.m. at a home on Bell Avenue and Mitchell Street. WFMJ-TV reports The flames that engulfed the home were so hot that the fire truck parked in front of the house had some rubber parts starting to melt. Firefighters moved to spray water on the home from across the street due to the temperatures. Officials say it is the second time the house has been on fire, and the area has been the scene of other suspected arson fires in the past.

Six people are recovering from smoke inhalation in Beaver Falls after a children’s cooking mishap.  Firefighters say the blaze broke out yesterday morning in a high-rise apartment building on Seventh Avenue when the kids’ attempt to fry chicken nuggets and fries got out of hand.  Some people had to be rescued from their apartments, but no serious injuries were reported.

A formal decision on Pennsylvania’s high school sports season is expected this afternoon.  The P-I-A-A’s board of directors is reportedly meeting at 3 p-m today to decide on whether or not they will cancel the fall sports season, following a recommendation by Governor Tom Wolf.  A Let Our Kids Play rally was held on the state capitol steps Thursday in an attempt to encourage the board to allow the season to begin.

The restrictions on crowds to watch youth sports remain in effect in Allegheny County.  W-P-X-I T-V reports that gatherings to watch the events still have to have less than 50 people.  More information on how games will be played and other restrictions are expected to be released later today

Republican-sponsored legislation that would give Pennsylvania school districts the final say over whether to hold sports and other activities during the pandemic cleared a House committee Thursday. Majority Republicans in the Legislature introduced the legislation after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf issued a “strong recommendation” that all youth athletics be canceled until 2021 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The bill passed the committee largely along party lines, though it attracted the support of two Democrats.

Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez will remain jailed as he awaits trial on sex assault charges.  A Westmoreland County judge rejected Vazquez’ second request for bond yesterday, citing the nature of his alleged crimes and the potential to flee.  Vazquez is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 2017.

The University of Pittsburgh is delaying it’s start to the fall semester.  Classes were supposed to start yesterday but Pitt decided to extend online-only instruction until September 14th due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.  A possible connection to the postponement could have to do with five fraternities and sororities put on interim suspension.  Dean of students Kenyon Bonner warned the organizations are jeopardizing a successful a safe reopening due to large parties and events.

Officials with the P-A Department of Health are adding 791 COVID-19 cases to the Commonwealth’s total.  Thursday’s announcement brings P-A to 126-thousand-949 cases since the start of the pandemic.  There were 15 more deaths attributed to coronavirus complications announced yesterday, with the death toll rising to 75-hundred-38 statewide. Lawrence County added two new positive cases yesterday bringing the county’s total to 433 cases and 16 deaths.

Officials with Butler Health System are warning residents of a robocall scam using their name.  It’s reported that someone got an automated call asking for their social security number and health insurance information.  B-H-S representatives say the call was a scam and anyone who gets a similar call should not share any information.