By Ross Guidotti

MCKEESPORT (KDKA) – A Monday night fire, which heavily damaged an apartment building in McKeesport, is under investigation.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out around 10 p.m. at a house that was converted into two apartments in the 900-block of Union Street.

According to witnesses, the fire started in the upstairs apartment where no one was home.

However, three people were in the downstairs apartment and were able to get out safely because of some quick work by neighbors.

“I’m very thankful. Somebody kicked the door in. it’s a blessing,” Victor Williams said.

Williams was in the attic apartment of the home when the apartment below him erupted in flames.

“When I got to the second floor, I [saw] all the smoke so I crawled on the floor. When I got around the corner, I [saw] the fire and the flames coming out the door, so I ran through them,” Williams said.

Around the same time, Carl Himich saw the fire and sprung into action.

“I looked up and saw orange in the window and knew it was a fire. Went and tried to wake the people up and nobody would get up,” Himich said. “It was a tough door too. It took four kicks.”

He was not alone as Josh Okert was right behind him.

“All of a sudden, we [saw] flames shooting out of a window. What he did was he started pounding on a door – no answer. Kicked a door in, me and him went in, started saving what we could, getting the people out of the house before it got too bad and then [firefighters] told us to get back and stop,” Okert said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it is believed a lit cigarette may have sparked it.

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