BELLEVUE (KDKA) – An apartment building fire in Bellevue sent seven firefighters to the hospital overnight.
According to officials, the fire broke out shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, but the flames were so intense it took until nearly 7 a.m. Wednesday to finally put out all the hot spots.
Cell phone video from a neighbor showed the beginnings of the fire in the rear of 51 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue. Five minutes later, the blaze had grown and the entire third floor was raging.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
“We saw the whole building engulfed in flames,” Elizabeth Montelaro said.
Montelaro came by this morning to survey the smoldering three-story apartment building. The 13 residents were able to escape the fire.
“They were trying to get them out, but more just kept shooting up and everything,” Montelaro said.
“I was driving across the Bellevue Bridge on Lincoln Avenue and my boyfriend screamed, ‘Look at that roof on fire.’ There was black smoke pouring out of it,” Suzie Ross said.
Ross stopped her car and called 911, while her boyfriend headed into the flames.
“He jumped out the moving car while I was stopping, ran into the building, opened the door and was telling everybody to get out,” Ross said.
While the 13 residents escaped, several pets died.
The firefighters spent several hours battling the fire, but smoke and heat sent seven firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries. All were treated and released from the hospital.
They would return twice Wednesday morning to extinguish flames once again.
Meanwhile, the investigation into what caused this fire is ongoing.
KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:
Bellevue Fire Marshal Jeff Wissner told KDKA’s Brenda Waters the fire started on the top floor of the structure.
There were two grills on the third-floor balcony. Whether those grills were in use is a big question.
That’s because, last year, Bellevue Borough voted a fire code ordinance into law requiring that grills be no less than five-feet from a house or other structure.
If those grills were in use, the person in that third-floor apartment could be fined and or face more serious charges.
Wissner says it could take a few days to determine the cause of the fire.