By Christine D’Antonio


BELTZHOOVER (KDKA) – Firefighters battled an intense fire in Beltzhoover Tuesday morning.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out at a vacant house in the 900 block of Montooth Street around 6 a.m.

Bill Harrison, a neighbor, reported hearing an explosion and then seen flames shooting 40 to 50 feet in the air.

Harrison said the home has been vacant for years after the owner passed away.

“The owner is deceased, like five or six years, and he was a Korean War veteran and I think he had some old ordinances in there that went bad because his family had the house secured so much the firefighters had a hard time getting in,” he said.

Firefighters were able to get the two-alarm blaze knocked down quickly after getting the hoses up to the house at the top of a steep hill.

“Initial challenges were just getting the water supply in place and then, once we got our water supply in place, we were able to start getting water on the fire,” Pittsburgh Fire Chief Doug Praskovich said.

Crews say the majority of the flames were in the back of the house. It’s unclear exactly what started the blaze, but Praskovich said abandoned houses and cooler temperatures can lead to this.

“Especially in vacant structures, you can get squatters inside and especially since it’s getting cold out, they may start fires and this kind of thing can happen,” Praskovich said.

There are no reported injuries.

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