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Police: Fatal Shadyside High Rise Fire Intentionally Set

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Ralph Iannotti Ralph Iannotti
Ralph Iannotti began working as a KDKA-TV general assignment reporter...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police say the explosion and fire that resulted in one death and two injuries at a Shadyside high rise was the result of a man who disconnected a gas flex line behind his kitchen stove, leaving the gas valve open.

Detective Michael Burns, an arson investigator, said the gas buildup was then ignited, causing an explosion.

Mark Williams, 60, the lone occupant of the fifth-floor condo that was destroyed in the blast and subsequent fire.

It all happened Thursday morning at the Amberson Towers Condominiums on Bayard Street.

The incident occurred just hours before a sheriff’s deputy was to show up at Williams’ condo to evict him because of lack of payment on his mortgage.

Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen told KDKA-TV News, “Because of the outstanding debt he owed, Williams was served with an eviction notice on Feb. 22.”

Mullen said a deputy was to show up at Williams’ condo at 11 a.m. Williams’ body was found in the bedroom, no notes were found in the condo.

  • Watch Heather Abraham’s report:

The Medical Examiner has yet to rule on whether his death was a suicide or accident. Two other occupants of the high rise were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

“We do a lot of evictions,” Mullen said. “They are somewhat routine, but you never know, some are volatile.”

Police sources tell KDKA that Williams had lived in the condo for more than a decade and he was reclusive.

The source said Williams made numerous unfounded complaints over the years and exhibited bizarre behavior.

RELATED LINKS:
1 Dead In Shadyside 7-Alarm Apartment Building Fire (3/21/13)
More Shadyside News

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