PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was the noon hour when workers in the building on 7th Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side knew something was wrong.
“There was just a loud bang,” said one person.
“A woman came up yelling there’s a bunch of smoke,” said another.
“No problem getting out. Just a whole lot of smoke, choking on it on the way out,” added another person.
Meanwhile, it was a different story on the second floor; and 911 dispatchers were getting slammed with calls.
“We did get multiple calls from inside the building and people outside the building telling us there were people trapped,” said Robert Ciesielski, the battalion chief.
By the time firefighters arrived, officials say two people were already on the roof, and three others were still trapped in the building.
Those people were Kevin Abramovitz’s employees.
“We also had three people inside the building holding their hands over their mouth and nose to avoid any smoke inhalation,” said Abramovitz, of the RHFA law firm.
Firefighters got to them and sheltered them in place, while the fire was put out and those on the roof brought safely to the ground.
“They got our staff out of danger very quickly and it’s very much appreciated,” said Giuseppe Rosselli, of the RHFA law firm.
One woman was given a bit of oxygen.
Pittsburgh arson investigators say the fire was on a landing.
“Phone book and some circulars from various stores,” said Pittsburgh Police arson investigator Detective Mike Burns.
As for how it started, officials say it’s under investigation.
The folks in the law firms say they will spend the weekend cleaning up and getting over what happened. They hope to be back at work on Monday.