Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
Nov. 20—Smoke still rose Sunday from the burned remains of a home that sits on about 13 acres of farmland in East Huntingdon, two days after an elderly couple was killed in a fire there.
Members of the Westmoreland County coroner’s office have been working with state troopers and sheriff’s deputies to find family members of Ernest E. Wright Sr., 87, and his wife, Nancy Wright, 82, in an effort to notify next of kin of the couple’s deaths. The fire at the home where they lived for decades was reported around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Coroner Tim Carson said they may have found a lead in Swissvale for Ernest Wright, while Nancy Wright’s son died in 2021.
“We’re going to keep at it,” Carson said.
If they are not successful, he can declare the bodies unclaimed. If that happens, both will be cremated and held at the office with 42 others whose remains have not been claimed. It’s the same process undertaken if next of kin is identified but does not want to take on financial responsibility, Carson said.
“This has been very rare,” he said.
Westmoreland County deed records showed the Wrights lived at the Espey Run Road home for decades. They signed an installment land contract in 1982 that called for a payment of $10,000 to be made over the following seven years.
The land was deeded to them in 1989, according to county records. A red pickup truck remained parked near the road Sunday and a car was parked farther back near the house. East Huntingdon Fire Chief Brian Kite said the old two-story farmhouse was made of brick and stone with multiple chimneys. The farm was not operating.
“I’m guessing just by looking at the block walls, there’s some age,” he said.
Several other buildings surround the house, including at least one barn, in a rural part of the township east of Scottdale and not far from Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church. A few women preparing for Sunday services there did not know the couple. A message left for a neighbor was not returned.
The home was destroyed.
Autopsies were performed Sunday with Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and Pathology Associates, according to a news release from the coroner’s office Sunday. The cause and manner of the deaths are pending autopsy results, toxicology results and further investigation into the cause of the fire.
A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.
The couple owns another property in East Huntingdon, just outside of Scottdale on Scottdale-Smithton Road, according to deed records. Carson said he appreciated community members helping his office after a post was made on the department’s Facebook page seeking information about relatives. Both died from injuries sustained in the fire.
Anyone with information on the Wrights’ family members is asked to call the coroner’s office at 724-830-3636.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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