The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

October 7, 2013

Fire claims pets at home of celebrating bride, groom

By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer

SHARON — A Sharon couple who were celebrating their wedding Saturday had their joy turn to sadness after a fire damaged their home and killed their pets, city Fire Chief Terry Whalen said.

The couple – Tom McCracken and the former Ashley Smith – were staying with family, Whalen said.

“It’s just so sad,” he said. “It was the happiest day of their life and it became the saddest day of their life. It’s very emotional and it’s heartbreaking.”

It was so emotional at the scene that Whalen didn’t get the newly married wife’s name. The couple’s marriage license application appeared in the Sept. 29 issue of The Herald.

Tom McCracken owned the house at 1155 Baldwin Ave. in the “neck” neighborhood of Sharon that juts into Farrell.

“Yesterday was their wedding day,” Whalen said Sunday.

Firefighters had to work to track the family down as they were at the reception when the fire broke out.

The bride’s grandfather was the last person in the house, at about 5 p.m., when he stopped to check on the couple’s dog and three cats, plus two dogs owned by family who were being stowed there during the nuptials.

The animals died in the blaze, which Whalen described as a “hot, smoldering, slow-moving fire.”

It burned undetected for a while until it “vented through the outside window at the rear of the home, Whalen said.

It was contained to the back bedroom of the three bedroom, one story brick home.

“Nobody was there to detect it,” he said of the fire, the cause of which is undetermined, but not suspicious.

The home is insured, Whalen said.

The couple and the wedding party arrived at the scene in dresses and tuxedos, Whalen said.

“It was just such an emotional night,” he said.

Farrell firefighters assisted at the scene.