PENN HILLS (KDKA) — A fire in Penn Hills claimed the life of a teenager Tuesday morning.

Teesa Williams, 17, was a sophomore at Penn Hills High School.

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Emergency officials got a call around 9:40 a.m. about smoke coming from a house at 11276 Azalea Drive.

“We found heavy smoke coming out of the side of the structure, made initial entry, found a fire burning in the kitchen area,” Penn Hills Fire Marshal Jack Mason said. “Fire department came and ultimately found a victim in a rear bedroom.”

Williams was removed from the house, treated at the scene and taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital where she died.

“I believe she had run down to the bedroom maybe to flee the fire or something like that, but we’re not sure at this point,” Mason said.

Fire marshals from Penn Hills and Allegheny County sifted through charred debris, including a badly burned mattress.

“She was found on the same level of the house in her bedroom which was in the rear of the house,” Mason said. “And there was some fire in that room, but we’re not sure what that was about, whether she was on – had some fire on her at the time.”

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The cause of the fire is unknown and the fire marshal is investigating.

County investigators said the fire scene is complicated and they are trying to determine if foul play was involved.

They also want to know why Williams was not in school because she had not been reported as being ill.

Meantime, the Penn Hills School District is making counselors available to students to cope with Williams’ death.

“I would like to express our sadness over the recent tragedy involving a member of the Penn Hills School District family,” Superintendent Thomas K. Washington said in a statement today. “My deepest sympathies go out to everyone affected. They are in our thoughts and prayers, and I want them to know that the School District stands ready and willing to assist them in any way that we can.”


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