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Mon Valley community rallies around firefighter injured battling weekend house fire

MONESSEN, Pa. — As investigators work to determine the cause of a fire in Monessen over the weekend, the community is rallying around a firefighter who was injured after falling through the floor of the burning house.

“They said they heard a boom. Looked over and there was my captain in the floor,” said Charleroi Fire Department Chief Robert Whiten Jr. “He fell down to the second floor and he told me himself he was actually knocked out.”

Fire Capt. Matt Prentice is “doing well and in good spirits” after being injured in the incident on Park Way around 2:45 p.m. Saturday. He was LifeFlighted to UPMC Mercy Hospital but is back home now, recovering. Two other firefighters were also injured and are recovering.

“Please keep he, his wife Megan, and his two young boys in your thoughts and prayers as he begins his road of healing and recovery,” the department posted on Facebook. “We would like to thank everyone that has reached out to ask about Matt and offer their support.”

Yesterday, on July 3rd at approximately 14:43 hours, the Charleroi Fire Department was requested to assist Monessen,...

Posted by Charleroi Fire Department on Sunday, July 4, 2021

Whiten said the community has been rallying around the fire department, calling and asking how they can help. Tshirts are also being made to help offset the medical expenses for Prentice’s family.

Investigators are still working to determine what start the fire.

Officials said as firefighters were arriving on scene of the fire, a woman was standing out front screaming that her kids were trapped inside the home. While searching for the children, a floor joist broke, sending Prentice from the second floor down to the first floor.

He was rescued from the building, and it was found that no children were inside the home. Investigators now believe a man may have been squatting there.