1 Home Destroyed, 2 Others Damaged

NORTH SIDE (KDKA) – Two women died in a three-alarm Fineview fire Wednesday morning.

According to emergency dispatchers, the fire broke out at a home in the 200-block of Belleau Street around 6:30 a.m.

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KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:

“Crews extinguished the fire. The fire did extend to the neighboring homes on either side, causing heavy damage to all three structures,” Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said.

Two women living in the home where the fire began were trapped on the third floor. One was found sitting in a chair while the other was in a bathroom.

Neighbors identify the victims as 50-year-old Judy Rassias and 51-year-old Cathy Arkus. They say Rassias owned the home and Arkus moved in when Rassias’ husband died.

Rassias battled cancer and had trouble walking.

KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:

Neighbors say the women learned just this morning, before the fire, that Rassias’ father had passed away.

The home where the fire started was destroyed, while two other homes were damaged.

“There’s a lot of damage. I’m not sure how much, but there’s a lot,” Richard Cramer, a neighbor, said.

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Firefighters were able to rescue Cramer’s two dogs before the fire spread.

KDKA’s Trina Orlando Reports:

While he is thankful for that, he and the rest of his neighbors are mourning the two women who lost their lives.

“They were great neighbors. I couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor. They took care of my animals while I was work,” Cramer said.

“We were best of friends. There are several of us in the neighborhood that were very close to them.”

(Photo Credit: Barbara Boylan/NewsRadio 1020 KDKA)

(Photo Credit: Barbara Boylan/NewsRadio 1020 KDKA)

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