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Pa. man killed in fire called an angel by his family

December 26, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Members of the Glass family gathered for a photo at the Path Valley Speedway Park. Pictured from left are Brian Glass; his nephew Brady Glass; Brian's father, Jay Glass; nephew Zachary Glass; and brother Rodney Glass. Brian Glass died in a Christmas morning fire.
Submitted photo

FORT LOUDON, Pa. — Amid the charred remains and melted aluminum siding that once was the Glass family home, a decorative Christmas angel stands nearby, untouched by the Christmas morning blaze that claimed the life of Brian Glass.

Glass, 48, of 1689 Path Valley Road (Pa. 75), in Franklin County, Pa., was pronounced dead at the scene by Franklin County Coroner Jeff Conner.

His family is remembering him as their angel in the wake of his death on the holiday he loved.

Glass was trapped in the two-story home and died from carbon monoxide poisoning, Conner said in a news release.

The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. Dec. 25 on Path Valley Road, police said.

According to Glass’ family, who lived next door, Brian lived with his parents, Jay and Edna Glass, who are both 72.

Jay and Edna Glass are staying with their daughter, Brenda Anderson of Fort Loudon, according to family members.

Pennsylvania state Trooper Franklin Hershey said Monday both the cause and the origin of the fire are still under investigation.

“It’s safe to say the origin was on an enclosed porch that was added on some time ago,” Hershey said. “There is no apparent foul play involved.”

Hershey said (Brian) Glass fell at the bottom of the stairs and was unable to get out of the house.

Edna Glass was treated at Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital and later released; Jay Glass was not injured, Hershey said.

Brian’s oldest brother Harry, 55, and youngest brother Rodney, 39, sat around Rodney’s kitchen table Monday to reflect on what happened and talk about their brother.

They said he was a hard worker who loved his job as a weigh master for Martin Marietta Aggregates in Pinesburg, Md. He was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and never missed one of his nephews’ football games, they said.

“He was one of the nicest brothers you could ask for. Family was important to him. Christmas was one of his biggest days, because he went all out; he really enjoyed Christmas,” Harry Glass said.

During a moment of lightheartedness, Harry recalled his days of baby-sitting Brian.

“There were a lot of stories, but I won’t go into that,” he said with a smile.

Rodney, his wife, Amy, and three sons, Zachary, Brady and Colton, live next door.

“There’s definitely a big hole in the family right now,” Rodney said.

The night of the fire, Rodney said he saw a glow. He beat on the door, but he knew there was nothing he could do.

“It took the wind right out of me, because I knew there was nothing I could do to help him,” Rodney said. “It was too far gone for us to do anything.”

The family calls Brian a hero because he’s the one who heard the smoke alarms and woke his parents.

Rodney said his father checked the house, felt everything was fine and sent his wife and son back to bed.

When he opened the door to the back porch, Rodney said, that’s when everything rushed in.

“He hollered for them (Brian and Edna) to come back downstairs and get out. He (Brian) helped mom down the stairs, and then dad took mom out,” Rodney said.

At some point, Brian fell and his father tried to get back in the house, but couldn’t.

Rodney said his parents feel guilty that they survived and their son didn’t.

“My heart broke for her, because I don’t want them to feel that way. Because it’s like I told them, ‘he was your angel,’” Rodney said.

Harry wants people to remember Brian as a loving, giving man.

“He was very positive, and he really cared for his family and relatives,” Harry said.

“He did anything he possibly could for anybody he knew,” Rodney said.

Since Brian loved Christmas, next year, Rodney and his family will pay tribute to their “loving, personal angel.”

“Blue was his favorite color. I told my wife next year everything’s going to be in blue,” Rodney said.

The Franklin County Air Unit and fire companies from St. Thomas Township, Metal Township, Mercersburg, Fannett-Metal, Greencastle, Franklin, Marion, McConnellsburg, Hustontown and Mont Alto responded, police said.

“Everybody’s pitched in. We can’t thank everyone enough for what they have done. Definitely we want to thank all the fire companies that were here,” Rodney Glass said. “There’s only so much they can do, and I realize that — but I appreciate all they did.”

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