VANDERGRIFT (KDKA) – It took more than 24 hours, but a massive fire on Vandergrift’s Washington Avenue is finally out.

“Around 2 this afternoon, we put the last hot spot out,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mark Fairman. “Now we’re packing up and heading home.”

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Yesterday there was flame, smoke, confusion and concern.

“Smoke was so bad, I couldn’t’ see,” said Allison Faulx whose apartment was destroyed. “People started running past us saying, ‘call 911.’”

Today there’s absolute destruction. Today we also learned firefighters thought they were dealing with a worst-case scenario.

“When we first pulled up, we were told there was someone still inside, in the back apartment,” said Fairman.

As it turns out, that individual wasn’t home.

The grand total from the fire is one building completely destroyed, 22 fire companies and more than 100 firefighters.

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“We had all the ladder trucks in top, the fire was pushing at us,” said Fairman. “That’s when I decided to pull everyone and let it burn.”

Little remains of the 12 residents’ belongings.

“We lost everything,” said one resident.

Fairman says it was difficult to tell the families there wasn’t anymore they could do.

“Yes, but they understood there was no way they were going back in,” he said.

The Red Cross is assisting one family. The other residents are staying with family and friends. State Police have ruled the fire accidental.

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