By Heather Abraham

EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) – A little girl was rescued from a three-alarm fire in East Liberty early Tuesday morning.

According to officials, the fire broke out in the 5800-block of Rippey Street around 3 a.m.

Neighbors and firefighters were in a panic trying to rescue a 3-year-old girl who was trapped inside.

Firefighters stopped at nothing to make sure she was pulled out alive.

With fire crawling through the walls of the apartment building, neighbors heard the cries of a mother screaming that her child was still inside.

“The mom was screaming that her baby was in the fire. So, she handed me a jacket and I ran in there with it over my face, but I couldn’t really get through the back door and it was locked. So, I ran back outside. Me and I don’t know his name, pulled out the [air conditioning] unit and tried to go in there but the smoke blinded us,” Tavon Brown said.

Despite their heroic efforts, neighbors had to pull back just as firefighters were arriving. However, they were also met with problems, which delayed the rescue.

Firefighters had no idea the mother had escaped through the window. When they got inside the building, the front door to the apartment was locked and they knew the little girl was still trapped inside.

KDKA’s John Shumway reports:

Firefighters used an axe and finally had to kick down the locked door. They found the girl collapsed in the hallway of the apartment near the bedroom.

“She was unconscious and unresponsive. CPR was immediately started. She was transferred to the medics, and they took over her care from that point on,” Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Chief Darryl Jones said.

Officials said she was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital in serious, but stable condition.

A firefighter received steam burns to his leg and two cats from an upstairs apartment were also removed and given oxygen.

While an official cause has not been released, information initially gathered at the scene points to a possible kitchen fire.

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