MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) – One woman was killed in an early Tuesday morning fire in McKees Rocks.

The flames broke out around 3:30 a.m. and quickly spread through the Church Avenue apartment building.

In the end, a woman’s life would be lost, but not before a desperate attempt by neighbors who tried to save her.

Fire equipment and flashing lights filled the street while stunned survivors tried to come to terms with the terror they had just endured.

“I was lying on the couch, I was up and everybody yelling, screaming and that. My neighbor across the hall came over and said, ‘Get out of here, the place is on fire,’” John Osterrieder said.

The quick moving fire in the nine-unit apartment building caused significant damage and claimed a life.

A disabled woman was trapped in her lower-floor apartment. However, her neighbors, lea by retired firefighter Joe Cinkin, did their best to rescue her.

“We tried to get the door open downstairs but there was too much heat and smoke we couldn’t get in,” Osterrieder said.

“Pure hell. I feel bad for everybody who lives there. Of course, you know and the one that didn’t make it out. We’re neighbors, so it’s very hard,” Heidi Madia said.

The origin of the fire is believed to have been in the apartment where the woman lost her life.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as 50-year-old Sandra Blake. She died from smoke inhalation and thermal injury.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Right now, the Red Cross is helping those who are now homeless as a result of the fire.

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