Controversy Erupts In Aftermath Of Baldwin Fire

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.

  • JK

    The water company has a lot more to loose if it was their fault, so it is harder to believe their story. Why would the fire fighters be out in 19 degree weather to fight a fire, but no check their hoses when the water stopped? Do you really think they want to just stand around?

  • FP

    The result of what ever happened is the Ducouer Family lost everything! The Water Co. and the Firefighters need to stop pointing fingers and figure out what the hell went wrong. Here we are two weeks before Christmas and there is a family that has been devastated because of a huge mistake. Instead of pointing fingers why don’t they pull together and help the family???

  • Dar

    Yes but if one of them is to blame for the house loss, why should the other party have to pay?

  • FP

    @ Dar
    Why should the Ducouer Family suffer and go without for however long it will take for the Water Co. and Firefighter’s to figure out who is to blame? Yes they probably have Insurance but how long is it going to take for the Ins. Co. to figure out everything and help the family if the Water Co. and Firefighter’s are pointing fingers? In the mean time the two sides involved can get together and come to a legal agreement that they will both help the family till they can figure out who is to blame, and the party that is at fault can pay the money back to the other side that is not at fault. Of course that may be too easy to do. Instead let a family go through hell till the two sides that are pointing fingers come to an agreement. If it was your family you would want help now not however long it will take for the Water Co. and Firefighter’s to figure this mess out.

  • dimwit

    Marty is involved something is fishy

  • Level Green

    There’s no problem here FP & DAR. The insurance company pays the victim of a fire no matter what the problem was unless the fire started as the result of complete negligence on the part of the home owner or there is a suspicion of arson. There no liability involved.

    Bet they will have an insurance check within the week.

    The Water Company and the Fire Department have to figure out what happened to prevent a recurrence.

  • Leaping Lord

    No problem her.. move along it’s just Marty try to create a controversy…wise up people he makes up news

  • esp45

    Level Green – easier said than done. Yes insurance pays to rebuild and replace belongings. What about the dogs lost? What about photos and items that can’t be bought? Those items won’t be replaced. Had they not lost water odds are the majority of those items could have been saved. People thinking this is just making up news, explain why Penn American won’t share their hydrant inspection records? Explain why the SAME thing happened in Beechview. I hope someone files subpoenas for these records to divulge publicly. THIS is the ONLY way to prevent this from happening in the future.

  • FP

    So true esp45 ! I was going to point that out but you beat me to it. Like you said there are things that can’t be replaced and it takes a toll on a person. The guilt that Mr. Ducouer is going to live with that he could not rescue all of his beloved pets. I will continue to pray for the Ducouer Family to be able to get through this tragedy.

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