MCKEESPORT (KDKA) – Three homes were either severely damaged or destroyed by an early Tuesday morning fire in McKeesport.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out around 1:42 a.m. in the 2500-block of Banker Street.

“It was just popping and cracking,” said Keith Leverenz, a neighbor who was evacuated said. “The next thing you know we’re looking out the window and we could see nothing but flames.”

The home where the fire started was destroyed. At some point, the fire jumped from that initial home to one next door, which was occupied by a pregnant woman, her husband and teenage daughter.

“For 10 minutes I stood there and watched my house burn. I’m seven-months pregnant, I have a 15-year-old daughter and we have nothing now. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Everything I have is gone. My cats passed away – they saved one of my kittens. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Francine Cook said.

Cook did not have renters insurance and was set to move out in about two weeks.

It’s believed the fire spread partially because there was not sufficient water pressure to attack the flames.

A man living in the home which was destroyed got out safely because of his dog barking. However, the dog did not make it out.

Two neighboring homes were heavily damaged, while a fourth sustained only minor damage.

“What we have here is two occupied homes and a vacant house,” said Chief Kevin Lust of the McKeesport Fire Department.

None are habitable now. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the Red Cross is assisting those who have been affected by the fire.


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