NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) – An early morning fire destroyed one home and badly damaged another in Westmoreland County. Several people were hurt, including one person who jumped to safety.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started at a home in the 1200-block of Victoria Avenue in New Kensington around 4:30 a.m.

Firefighters said by the time they arrived, flames were roaring out of the brick house where the fire started and the house next door was in its path.

“It was just a very large magnitude fire and the houses up here are really close together,” Assistant Chief Ed Saliba said.

“It was within seconds. The police were knocking on my door telling me we needed to evacuate. The fire company wasn’t even here by the time the house next to it caught on fire,” Melissa McCory, a neighbor, said.

McCory got her kids out of their home quickly. She was fortunate that a vacant lot separated her home from the one on fire. However, another family wasn’t so lucky.

A couple and their five kids were able to make it out, but many of their belongings were destroyed.

McCory sympathized with them, fearing this morning that she too could have been a victim.

“I was terrified. My kids are still shook,” McCory said. “I could have lost everything I worked for.”

A state police fire marshal was called to the scene later in the morning. Determining the cause of the fire could be a difficult task due to the home collapsing.

The assistant fire chief says there may have been pets trapped inside the home, but they were still waiting to talk with the homeowner, who was taken to the hospital after a daring jump to safety.

“There was an occupant from 1231 Victoria who was taken to Allegheny General Hospital. He escaped by jumping from the house,” Saliba said.

Saliba said. said two firefighters were injured this morning as well. Both are expected to be okay.


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