By Heather Abraham

FRIENDSHIP (KDKA) – An iconic row of houses went up in flames over the weekend and officials are still investigating what caused it.

In a veil of smoke, three vacant homes along Penn Avenue, known as Bride Row, were severely damaged in a three-alarm fire that started around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.

“As soon as we got onto Penn Avenue, we could see the column of smoke coming from the building behind me,” Battalion Chief Robert Cox said.

The iconic homes got their name from the mural, the “Bride of Penn Avenue,” which was created in the mid-90s by Judy Penzler and Jill Watson. Both died in the TWA Flight 800 crash in 1996.

As firefighters arrived, they quickly worked to contain the flames from spreading to all the homes in the row.

“We started off defensively, then we went interior aggressive on the two exposure buildings. Keep it from spreading to the whole five-unit row,” Cox said. “The middle building where the main body of fire was, is going to be a total loss.”

Cox said all but one of the homes were vacant.

While one was destroyed, the building inspector will have to determine if the other two homes that suffered damage will have to come down.

One firefighter hurt his leg in the fire, but is expected to be okay.


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