PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – City firefighters had to battl another fire in the extreme cold Saturday, as a house in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood went up in flames.

A huge cloud of thick, black smoke surrounded the home in the 100-block of McNeilly Road on Saturday morning.

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The two-story structure became engulfed in smoke and flames so quickly that firefighters were ordered out of the building.

“We transitioned from an offensive attack to a defensive attack, which basically means we were losing ground,” said Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Chief Daryl Jones. “We didn’t want to get anybody hurt, so we pulled out.”

The fire spread quickly, up the walls and through the ceiling. Flames could be seen shooting through two holes in the roof. The cause is under investigation.

A relative said they heard the cable box beeping just before flames came shooting through the floor from the basement.

“We’re going to be looking at that. Like I said, it’s under investigation right now. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” said Chief Jones. “I’ll let the fire investigators do their work and we’ll have a final determination after they are finished.”

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The family got out safely; although, we’re told several pets are still missing. The residents could only watch in horror as flames and smoke engulfed the home, eventually causing part of the roof to collapse.

This is the third fire for city firefighters during this bitter cold snap. The temperature only makes their job more difficult.

“You have to be worried about slip and fall hazards, frozen pipes, frozen hydrants, and things like that. We didn’t encounter any of that yet today; we just prepare for that,” Chief Jones said.

Chief Jones had some advice for residents about the proper use of space heaters and offered other tips for protecting homes.

“Get your furnace checked out, and the last thing you want to do is use your stove as a heater,” he said. “A lot of times people turn eyes on the stove – that increases your chance of carbon monoxide poisoning and a fire.”

One firefighter was taken to the hospital, suffering chest pains.

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