BLOOMFIELD (KDKA) – The home of a retired City of Pittsburgh fire captain went up in flames today.
Flames poured from the roof of the home, and firefighters tried all they could to put the two-alarm fire out, but it spread far too fast.
Firefighters were called to the house on Lorigan Street, near the Bloomfield Bridge, after 10 a.m.
“The fire was so far involved, we had to back people away and establish a collapse zone,” said Deputy Chief Michael Mullen, of the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau.
The couple that lived inside, John and Maffy Giancola – both in their 80s – managed to make it out alive.
“My grandmother ran out because my grandfather is handicapped. My grandmother ran out and came over to get her son and he ran in and got him. He was already on the porch and helped him down he steps,” said Holly Brandy, the couple’s granddaughter.
“They were watching TV in the living room and they heard pop behind the couch, and all of a sudden, the couch was in flames,” said Robin Giancola, another granddaughter. “They tried to get it out with water and called 911, and before you know it, the house just… the whole thing went up.”
The family says they believe electrical wiring in the wall started the fire, and then went up fast considering the home’s age.
“They had 68 years of life in that house – married and raised their family, grandkids, everything and they lost it all,” said Giancola.
But firefighters did manage to recover something.
“The firefighters, I think, went in and got urn for my aunt. They had buried one of their children and her urn in there and they were able to recover that. It’s burnt at least they got it,” Giancola added.
Firefighters had to deal with low water pressure at first, but managed to get to a reliable fire hydrant up the hill, battling the flames in the cold and fighting for the home of a man who was once one of their own.
The couple just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August. They have six kids and a lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Two of their kids died when they were younger, so they lost the pictures in the house fire.
The couple received a Paul J. Sciullo II Community Service Award two years ago, for doing so much for the community. They received the award in October of 2011.
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