By Marty Griffin

BALDWIN (KDKA) — There is controversy following a major fire in Baldwin.

Firefighters say they could not fight the fire because of problems with water lines. Meantime the water company says the water lines in the community are excellent.

Along Lois Street in Baldwin at the Ducoer home, the clean-up effort is underway. However, there is a good chance the home is a total loss. The family also lost several pets in the blaze.

The fire was massive and according to firefighters started around 5 p.m. Thursday. Investigators believe the fire may have started in the basement and then spread to the rest of the home.

South Baldwin Fire Chief Joe Cambest says they were winning the fight against the fire until they lost water pressure.

“We were making headway on it,” he said. “We lost water pressure and we had to pull all the crews out. It got away from us when we lost water pressure.”

Cambest says Pennsylvania American Water Company is to blame. Cambest says something happened to the water pressure. He also says they had no problem with their equipment or their fire hoses.

“No, there was no kink hose – it was a straight line from the hydrant to out truck,” he said.

Josephine Posti with Pennsylvania American Water company disagrees. “There would have had to been a major event within the distribution system like a major event impacting the system that fed those hydrants.”

Pennsylvania American Water says there were no water main breaks in the area. The company also says the hydrants used last night were recently tested and show very good water pressure.

Posti says firefighters told their crew at the scene last night, “We had a kink in the hose. We don’t need your help.”

Both sides are planning to sit down sometime next week to try to determine what happened.

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