FORWARD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Before firefighters arrived at a house in the 400-block of Bunola River Road in Forward Township, they were told flames were coming through the roof and that someone was trapped inside.
“There was entrapment,” said John Folk with the Bunola Volunteer Fire Department. “The individual victim was found. He was deceased.”
“The entire back of the house was on fire,” he added. “A lot of flames, a lot of chaos.”
Authorities could not identify the body of a victim, found on the first floor, because it was burned beyond recognition. They also say he had a gunshot wound to the head.
The medical examiner has not released his name, but friends and neighbors believe the person who died is 54-year-old Jimmy Stirbis — the man who lived there.
“Great neighbor, great man, great craftsman,” said neighbor Brett Taylor. “This is very tragic. He’s the kind of guy you call, in a pinch. He would always be there, do whatever you need.”
Taylor’s parents live across the street. Taylor was outside, when the fire broke out, this morning. Like many in the neighborhood, he’s puzzled and disturbed by the death.
“No one’s ever going to know,” Taylor said. “This is just beyond tragic. We’re just beyond words, of what could have happened, or why it happened.”
But several friends, who did not want to talk on camera, think Stirbis started the fire and shot his aging dog, whose body was found in the yard, before turning the gun on himself.
Firefighters say ammunition was found inside the house, but it did not cause them any problems.
Allegheny County homicide detectives are investigating. Meanwhile, Taylor praises firefighters, for responding quickly.
“There’s just nothing more that could have been done,” he said. “Just sad. There’s not going to be any answers, unfortunately.”