CASTLE SHANNON (KDKA) – A duplex in Castle Shannon was damaged by an early Wednesday morning fire.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started at a duplex in the 700-block of Cooke Drive around 4:47 a.m.

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Everyone is fine following the fire early this morning, thanks to a neighbor being in the right place in the right time and a quick thinking 10 year old who remembered some very important training.

Just minutes before flames started to shoot through the duplex, a neighbor, known only as “Al” saw smoke and knew that a family lived in the next door unit.

“Some guy just started knocking and yelling ‘fire.’” Ben Honsinger said,

Ben, a 10-year-old fourth grader, was sleeping inside along with his mother when the hero neighbor woke them up. Their smoke detectors had not gone off, even though thick smoke had filled their home.

But Ben knew just what to do.

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“I started low-crawling down the stairs,” Ben said. “I was [kind of] scared, but I just remembered that.”

A Castle Shannon firefighter, who teaches fire prevention classes in the area, proudly shook hands with Ben, when he found out that he had remembered the life-saving skills he was taught during one of those classes at his school.

The Castle Shannon fire chief said the other half of the duplex where the fire started was vacant and under construction.

It’s believed the fire was electrical and started in the attic. The chief and neighbors praise the mystery man who was in the right place at the right time.

“Thank heavens he found it and happened to be driving down the road when he was,” Todd Graham said. “We come and go, but it’s [kind of] the Pittsburgh way. When in need, we lean on one another.”

A firefighter was inside when part of the roof partially collapsed. He was treated by medics on the scene and did not need to be taken to the hospital.


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