Fire destroys historic hotel, former stagecoach stop in Pennsylvania

RIDGWAY, Pa. (AP) -- The owners of a historic hotel that once served as a stagecoach stop in west-central Pennsylvania say it has been destroyed by a massive fire.

Nicoll and Robert Hearst lived at the Highland Hotel along state Route 948 in Ridgway before Tuesday's fire.

The couple had stopped renting out rooms above their bar and restaurant, but still lived there along with another friend. All three had to climb onto the roof, where they were rescued after the fire broke out about 1:30 a.m.

"The residents were starting to crawl out the window. Our deputy chief went out to the scene. He automatically took one of his personal ladders of his truck and put it up there to help them down,” Highland Township Fire Chief Bill Edinger said.

Officials said because of windy conditions and a limited water supply, it took a dozen fire departments from four counties to fight the flames.

A state police fire marshal said he's trying to determine if a wood stove caused the fire.

Robert Hearst said the building dates to the late 1800s when oil field workers and loggers used to catch a stagecoach to work. The building wasn't insured because of its age.