Pa. Workers Lauded for Saving Family Using Backhoe

July 25--Westmoreland County commissioners on Thursday honored four Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County laborers who in June rescued a Scottdale family from a burning building just minutes before it collapsed.

Steven Rosatti, Rich Salandro, Frank Francia and Dave Hall were fixing a water leak before dawn on June 12 on Chestnut Street when they spotted smoke and heard panicked cries from a building next door.

The workers saw a family stranded on the roof as flames engulfed the building below. They used a backhoe to reach the roof. Jim and Angela Newton and their children, Ivy, 13, and Kahne, 5, got in the truck's bucket and were lowered to safety.

The authority workers then led three more apartment dwellers from the building.

Commissioners called their actions "selfless" and a "life-saving act."

"It's absolutely wonderful," said Commissioner Charles Anderson upon bestowing a proclamation congratulating each man.

"Usually, people see the danger and go the other way. You guys ran toward the danger," Anderson said.

The rescues were made just minutes before the building collapsed.

"We felt we were lucky to be there when those people needed us," Salandro said on Thursday.

The four men have received several honors since the rescue. This month, they were lauded by municipal authority board members.

Rosatti, a volunteer fireman in Salem, said they happened to be in the right place at the right time.

"We quickly sprung into action and, within minutes, we got them off the roof," Rosatti said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or

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