By Amy Wadas

MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) – Firefighters started off 2015 with a busy morning on Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks.

According to officials at the scene, an abandoned home caught fire around 4 a.m.

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Flames shot through the third floor of the home and smoke was so think that it filled the cold early morning air.

Firefighters got to the scene not realizing what they would face.

“When we set up our first defensive line, the pressure from the water was pushing our guys around. They were sliding on ice so it was a little difficult,” McKees Rocks Fire Chief Nick Radoycis said.

Salt had to be put on the street and sidewalk to take care of the icy conditions.

Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about 15 minutes, but it burned through the roof.

“Early in the fire, we had people doing an initial search to see if anyone was in there. Even though it was an abandoned building, we still have the obligation to go in and search. While that was going on, the roof started to collapse so we had to give the signal to get out of the building,” Chief Radoycis said.

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The people who live next door say they left for a while because they thought their home would catch fire. But, they came back when the fire was put out.

One McKees Rocks resident says she was concerned when she heard what happened.

“I know kids in the neighborhood that play around here and that could have possibly happened during the day and one of the kids could have got injured,” Ciearra Bell said.

Bell hopes no one intentionally set fire to the vacant home. Firefighters say it has been abandoned for some time. But, on New Year’s Day, she’s thankful.

“Everybody’s safe. I’m thankful for that much,” Bell said.

The fire marshal was on scene investigating the cause of the fire this morning.

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