STOWE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Several people are still in shock after fire ripped through their homes in Stowe Township.
However, they are even more stunned to know the flames may have been intentionally set.
The damage on the outside is obvious. Crews put plastic and plywood over some of the badly burned spots at 713 Overlook Place.
Fire broke out in the townhouse around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
Several neighbors smelled smoke and ran outside to see what was happening.
“I just came downstairs and looked up and flames were shooting all out of here next door,” Keith Youngblood said.
“I went out, I [saw] the flames already shooting out the window. I would say probably about a good two to three feet out the window already,” Gerald Neth said.
Neth immediately ran back inside his house to alert his family.
“I have a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old and it still has me all [shaken] up about that,” Neth said.
Neth called 911 and firefighters arrived on the scene quickly, but not before five units were damaged. Some sustained just water and smoke damage.
Although an Allegheny County fire marshal is still investigating, neighbors say they know exactly how the flames were sparked.
They say their neighbor, who has been in and out of the hospital battling mental illness, set the fire, sat down and watched the place burn.
“She had been sitting in the chair, having herself a drink, just sitting there watching it, watching it go up,” Neth said.
A total of eight people were displaced by the fire.
While they look for new homes at least while cleanup continues, they’re just thankful no one was hurt.
“I thought I was going to lose everything, but thank God I got out of there safe and my cat and my daughter, and my stuff [aren’t] damaged that much,” Youngblood said.
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