PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Four people are dead, including three children, following an intense fire that broke out overnight at a rowhouse in Homewood.
Officials say the blaze broke out just after midnight, possibly in a second-floor bedroom of the home in the Homewood North housing plan on Nolan Court.
In a statement released this morning by Pittsburgh Public School officials, two of the children who died have been identified as 7-year-old My’ Zhirik McCullough and 6-year-old Ky’ Yrik McCullough. Both were first graders at Pittsburgh Faison K-5.
The statement went on to say, in part: “Ky’ Yrik and My’ Zhirik will be greatly missed by all who knew them. The Pittsburgh Public Schools would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to the family at this time.”
The name of the other 3-year-old child who died has not been released. The children’s mother also died in the fire. She was in her early 20s.
Authorities say it’s believed the woman’s boyfriend and a 3-year-old girl, a twin sister to one of the victim’s, were able to escape the flames.
According to the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau chief, the initial call came in as a mattress fire.
Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Chief Darryl Jones said crews got to the scene in less than five minutes.
“There was no technical difficulties; timely response, quick attack, quick search, just bad results,” said Chief Jones.
Authorities report that two neighboring homes were also damaged in the fire.
Neighbors and friends have begun constructing a memorial outside of the home.
“There was a lot of flames and the house next door was on fire, pretty much we just tried to get everybody out of the house and tried to check on the neighbors but [it was] too late,” said Jonathon Pope, a neighbor.
The Red Cross is helping four adults and four children who lived in the home next door.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Public School officials say grief counselors are being made available at Pittsburgh Faison K-5.
According to the district’s statement: “We care a great deal about the health and wellness of all of our students. Our Student Assistance Program (SAP) providers as well as additional grief counselors have been dispatched to both assist the students and staff as they try to deal with this tragic situation. The team will remain at the school as long as needed.”
The investigation into what sparked the fire continues.
City of Pittsburgh fire officials are handling the investigation. They are receiving assistance from the Allegheny County Fire Marshal.