UPPER ST. CLAIR (KDKA) — Investigators were back at the scene Sunday in Upper St. Clair following a massive fire that destroyed a home, left an elderly woman dead and sent her daughter to the hospital.
The blaze started just after 10 p.m. Saturday and quickly reduced the two-story, wood-frame home on McMillan Road to a burned out shell.
Flames and thick smoke caught the attention of neighbors who live on the hillside just above the residence.
“I came out onto the deck, looked down and already it seemed like it was coming out through one of the windows, was some fire,” said Sergio Amatangelo, a neighbor. “So, [I] went in, called 911.”
“It was a ginormous bon fire, and there was soot and ash flying up in the air,” said Scott Ivol, another neighbor. “It was pretty scary.”
When the fire started an elderly woman and her daughter were on the second floor. Police and several people passing by tried to get inside the house, but the flames were too intense. Somehow, the daughter managed to escape.
Both women have not been identified at this time.
“It’s our understanding that she was able to climb out a second floor window and drop to the ground,” said Lt. James Englert, of the Upper St. Clair Police Department.
The daughter was taken to the hospital, but her mother was trapped inside the home and was still unaccounted for this morning.
“She was elderly; and when she answered the door, it seemed like she wasn’t as mobile as you would think,” Ivol said.
Authorities came back to the structure Sunday morning to continue the investigation into what started the fire. After searching through the debris for several hours, authorities found the body of the elderly woman in what was left of the basement.
“There is no way of telling at this time, the heat was so intense, the destruction so massive that there’s just really no way to tell,” said Lt. Englert. “We’re going to continue the investigation throughout the upcoming days.”