MOUNT WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Three homes were badly damaged during a house fire in Mount Washington Sunday morning.

However, fire crews had trouble reaching the scene because parked cars lined the narrow streets.

Once they got to the scene, firefighters had trouble reaching the fire hydrants for the same reason.

Now, there are questions as to whether those cars were permitted to be parked there.

Neighbors said they’ve complained in the past about illegally parked cars and overcrowding on the narrow streets. Following Sunday’s fire in Mt Washington, Councilwoman Theresa-Kail Smith said she recognizes there’s a big problem.

The fire claimed its first home, then spread to two more. Fire officials will tell you that every second counts when it comes to battling fires and they lost precious time yesterday.

“The initial responding crews had a little bit of access problems, because of parked cars on the corners, delayed our attack, going into operations,” Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Asst. Chief Tom Cook said.

When it did get through, the truck could be seen crammed between the parked cars on Kambach Street.

“Over on the corners, here, you got yellow lines. That means no parking, but they park here anyway. House up the road burned down last year because they couldn’t get fire trucks up there, and the same situation here. They had a hard time getting in here,” George Anderson said.

Neighbors have seen ambulances having a tough time getting through and have concerns that there could be fatal consequences one day.

Kail-Smith represents Mount Washington and said parking has been a long-standing issue and is getting larger with more renters and more cars.

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With safety now in question, she said there have been meetings and discussions about how to make the streets passable and still allow parking.

However, she said drivers need to use common sense when parking.

“I think a lot of times it’s knowing that you’re blocking someone’s home, you’re blocking the intersection, you’re blocking the view for other vehicles, that an emergency vehicle might not be able to get through there,” Kail-Smith said.


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