SALEM TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — One person was killed when a fire broke out at a duplex in Westmoreland County early Friday morning.
Firefighters from 14 different crews were called to the home in the 200 block of Fennel Street in Salem Township around 1 a.m.
The Westmoreland County coroner’s office says 22-year-old Jeremy T. Rugh, of Salem Township, was killed in the fire.
According to firefighters, the woman living in one side of the duplex, Maryanne Huey, made it out safely.
At least three other people — Rugh and his parents — were in the other side of the duplex. The victim’s parents made it out of the home. According to a family member, one parent was taken to the hospital.
Rugh was trapped inside and unable to escape.
He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:15 a.m.
“I feel terrible about Jeremy, and I guess I should [feel] lucky, though. Jeremy didn’t make it. I did,” Huey said.
According to Huey, Jeremy had a developmental disorder.
“He was a special child, but he was very neat, he was very polite. He just was himself. He was quiet,” Huey said.
Officials said the extreme cold made extinguishing the fire very difficult because no firefighters could go on ladders, the roof or the porch of the home because of icy, unsafe conditions.
“The house has to be torn down due to the fact that we can’t get in and extinguish all of the hot spots due to the weather and the icy conditions,” Forbes Road Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Rosatti said.
The cause of the fire is unknown. The house was a total loss.
“I guess [I have to] find a place to live, huh? You just go on with what I got. Just start again,” Huey said.