BUTLER (KDKA) — Three people were taken to the hospital after a fire started at a Butler home early Saturday morning.
If you look at the front of 535 Carbon Street in the city of Butler, you see the sign “Angels Gather Here.” This sign couldn’t be more fitting, considering three lives were spared when a fire broke out overnight.
“There are not enough words to describe how thankful I am that nobody was hurt and they’re here,” relative Elizabeth Whitmire said.
Whitmire lives a block away from her mother, Karen, brother Eric and 2-year-old niece Mia and heard the sirens.
“I ran down in my pajamas,” Whitmire said. “I’ve never been so scared in my life. My mom is my best friend. My brother is my second best friend and the only other child I love as much as my daughter is my niece.”
Four people, including two children, made it out safely from the other half of the duplex.
“The fire was found in 535 in the kitchen area. Whenever we arrived on scene, it was in the back part of the duplex, but the tenants in 537 smelled smoke and their smoke detectors went off alerting them that there was something going on,” said Lt. Donald Crawford with the City of Butler Fire Department.
Items from the kitchen are burned and scattered all over the front yard.
The neighbors who live in the duplex next door tried to do all they could to get the family out, but they couldn’t so the neighbor who lives across the street ran over and was able to kick the door in.
Amy Wadas: “How many times did you kick the door in?”
Shawn Fulmer: “Seven.”
“Right when it opened, the guy was right there with the kid in his hands so I was like, ‘Get out of there, guys,'” Fulmer said.
That was Whitmire’s brother and niece. However, her mother was still trapped upstairs.
“We went in, started to extinguish the fire, went up to do a search, and found the person, a 54-year-old female unresponsive in her bedroom,” said Lt. Crawford.
She was flown to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh where she’s recovering from smoke inhalation. Whitmire expects her niece and brother to be released from West Penn any day now.
“They’re gonna be in my living room probably with blowup mattresses and camping gear,” Whitmire said.