MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA)- Fire swept through an apartment building late Tuesday night in McKees Rocks, which forced two families out of their homes.
According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 11:30 p.m. on the first floor of an apartment building on Woodward Avenue.
Heavy fire was seen in the front and rear of the building when crews arrived.
“The fire originated on the first floor, burned up through the second floor and into the roof rafters. We were able to stop it at that point,” said McKees Rocks Fire Chief Nick Raydoycis.
Two of the apartments were occupied by families, but they were all able to escape without injury.
All three apartments in the building suffered damage.
The American Red Cross is assisting the families with food, clothing and shelter.
Han Alexander, 19, says she, her 5-year-old brother and their mother will be staying in a hotel for the next few days, thanks to the Red Cross.
“I was just doing pilates exercising when my neighbor came over and knocked on the door and said there’s a fire in the apartment next to ours and had us all come outside,” Alexander said.
There were some concerns of the fire spreading to the homes next door. Firefighters also faced quite a challenge in the rear of the building.
“The back of this building is actually four stories down the hill, so it presented some tactical difficulties,” said Chief Raydoycis.
The fire was eventually put out a little after midnight.
The landlord of the building says the fire marshal determined the fire started in a chair in the vacant apartment in the building. He says the fire marshal told him it looks like someone set the chair on fire.
He says the apartment is often broken into.
Everyone made it out safely except for the landlord’s pet cockatiel.
The landlord said the apartment building has been in the family since 1907. He says he would like to keep the building, but doesn’t have insurance and isn’t sure where to go next.
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