BELLEVUE (KDKA) – Two adults and their three children died after a fire at a duplex in Bellevue late Friday night.
The victims have been identified as 41-year-old Stephen Lasch, 38-year-old Angela Lasch and their three children: 11-year-old Noah Lasch, 6-year-old Kayley Lasch and 4-year-old Hannah Lasch.
The four-alarm fire started around 9:30 p.m. at the building located at 435 Roosevelt Avenue. The Lasch’s neighbor in the duplex next door called 911 when smoke filtered into his house.
Police arrived on the scene first. Allegheny County Fire Marshal Matt Brown says that when firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw flames in a first-floor window on the left side of the duplex. Crews entered the first floor and found the five victims, who were still alive but unresponsive. Sources say the two adults were in cardiac arrest when they were pulled out.
Neighbors watched in horror as crews worked to revive the family members.
“They came out with the kids and it was just heart-wrenching,” said Bob Patton. “Watched them work on the little girl, she was the closest one. It had to be a good half hour.”
The three children were sent to local hospitals for treatment. All three were pronounced dead between 11:42 p.m. and 11:54 p.m. Friday. Angela died at Allegheny General Hospital around 4 a.m. Saturday. Brown said in a press release Saturday afternoon that Stephen remained in critical condition, but the medical examiner later confirmed that he had passed away as well.
An autopsy revealed that the official cause of death was acute inhalation of smoke and fumes. The manner of death was ruled accidental.
KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti Reports:
Brown said they believe the fire started on the first floor of the building, but the exact cause is still under investigation. It is not being considered suspicious at this time.
“There was a report that there were smoke detectors on the second floor but there’s no report that it was activated so the question is whether or not the batteries were in it or if it was functional,” Brown said.
Brown said counselors was brought in for first responders.
The residents in the right side of the duplex all escaped the building safely.
One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told KDKA her children played with the Lasch children.
“They always would ride up and down the street on their scooters and bikes. They were sweet kids, especially Noah, super caring little boy,” she said.