JENNETTE (KDKA) – Several families were forced to flee their burning apartments Wednesday morning in Westmoreland County.
According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out around 3:30 a.m. in the 300-block of North First Street in Jeannette.
The fire is the latest in a string of suspicious fires in Jeannette.
The home is split into four apartments and everyone was able to get out with their lives due to one resident’s quick actions.
Kyle Giesey, 23, grabbed his fiancée’s 4-year-old daughter and started pounding on his neighbors’ doors when he saw flames in his kitchen.
“I saw the flames and once I realized what was going on and what was happening, I just started reacting. My first concern was the baby, and I had her in my arms and I was just getting everyone else out,” Giesey said.
“Thank God that guy woke up or we would have been running in there waking them up ourselves,” Jeannette Fire Chief Joe Matijevic said.
Everyone got out okay, except for one woman who went to the hospital after having trouble breathing. After an initial investigation, fire marshals ruled this fire as an arson.
Since 2010, there have been 18 suspicious fires in that area. Some homes in previous fires were vacant, but this one certainly was not.
“They’re not doing abandoned homes. They’re doing live homes. You’re messing with people’s lives. This is no joke,” Giesey said. “You have no heart. You have no heart. [Because] now all of us have to find somewhere to live.”
A neighbor told fire officials that he saw someone standing outside just as the fire was starting. But, fire marshals now believe that man had called 911 after his dog started barking to alert him to the fire.
Officials said one of the first indications that this was suspicious was where the fire started.
“It seems like it started in the back of the house. The whole back of the house, from the first floor to the third floor was totally engulfed in flames when we got here,” Chief Matijevic said.
Jeannette Police will now be handling the investigation.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross is helping six adults and two children.