Neighbors address council over Pine Street home damaged by fire

May 11—More than a year after a Pine Street fire claimed the life of a 94-year-old woman and damaged her residence beyond repair, the burned-out shell of the home remains standing — and remains dangerous, neighbors told Meadville City Council members this week.

"It is a hazard," said Caryl Jewell, calling herself "one of the unfortunate neighbors" of 699 Pine St.

"Every time we have a hard wind," Jewell added, "more of the house is falling down."

An early fire on April 3, 2023, killed Rosa Moore. Neighbors were able to gain entrance to the home and carry Moore out as the fire raged, but she went into cardiac arrest and died of asphyxiation from carbon monoxide, former Crawford County coroner Scott Schell said at the time.

Jason Lytle, whose Pine Street home shares a driveway with the burned residence, told the Tribune after the fire that he was among those who pushed in the windows of Moore's bedroom and carried her out to the street. On Tuesday, Lytle told City Council that the house was only recently somewhat boarded up.

"The front door's not boarded up. I mean, they left," he said of a crew that placed boards over some windows, "and were basically like, 'We're done.'"

Lytle, too, said that bits of the house continue to fall off, including some that have fallen into the driveway he shares with the residence. Elaborating on the state of the structure, Jewell said, "The back of the house basically doesn't exist."

City officials acknowledged delays in the posting of notices that require the property owners to board the property. Those notices were only issued March 28, according to City Manager Maryann Menanno.

Owners have six months after receiving notice to complete the boarding, but city officials told neighbors present at Tuesday's meeting that the city would not wait the entire six months and would instead pursue the boarding independently, using funds set aside by insurance companies for such purposes.

Menanno on Friday said that the boarding is still being scheduled and should be completed "within the next few weeks."

Part of the delay was due to confusion over who owned the property after Moore's death, according to city officials.

Crawford County records show the property was purchased for $1,238 by the Wilmington Savings Fund Society, a bank based in Wilmington, Delaware, on Feb. 29.

Little progress has been made since then, according to the neighbors who addressed City Council this week.

"We just need to know that something is being done in our neighborhood," Jewell said.

Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at