One dead in early-morning blaze

A fire early Saturday morning claimed the life of an 89-year-old Ridgway woman and destroyed a Center Street home.A preliminary investigation has not yet determined the cause of the fire; however, officials are saying it is not suspected to be arson.Elizabeth H. Verbeck died in the fire, which reportedly broke out shortly after 2 a.m. in Ridgway at 8 Center St. The Ridgway Fire Department was assisted at the scene of the 2-story house fire by members of the Crystal and Fox Township fire departments, Ridgway Ambulance, Elk County District Attorney Bradley Kraus and Elk County Coroner Michelle Muccio. Damage to the residence is estimated at $150,000 and the investigation continues.It is the third fire to hit Ridgway in the last 25 days. Pauline Smith was the first victim when a fire early Wednesday morning, May 30, destroyed her West Main Street residence. The blaze reportedly broke out between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m., and was ruled arson.Officials continue to investigate the June 17 fire that destroyed the Walnut Street home of Stephen and Georgina Gausman, who were out of town. The call reportedly came in at 2:58 a.m. The blaze caused an estimated $200,000 worth of damage.