MCKEESPORT (KDKA) — One house was destroyed, another damaged Thursday night when a fire erupted in the 600 block of Hartman Street, in McKeesport.

Latheresa Festa said she and her children – ages 16, 10, 8, and 3 years – had no sooner left their house to go shopping, when she got a call when at a nearby Walmart store.

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“As soon as I got in the store, I got a call that my house was on fire, I can’t believe how it caught fire so fast,” Festa said, breaking into tears.  “We just spent hundreds of dollars on Christmas shopping, and now, everything is gone.”

Mike Black, who was working nearby, said he had trouble trying to call 911.

“There was heavy flames coming from the house, and from the looks of it, there was no saving the house,” Black told KDKA TV’s Ralph Iannotti.

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“The first unit was on the scene quickly, because the fire house is just  a short distance away,” McKeesport Fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said.

Tomovcsik said firefighters battled not only the flames, but, the bitter cold as well.  North Huntington EMS set up a  rehab tent to the crews could come in from the cold, if necessary.  The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause. 

Traffic at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, and Hartman Street was detoured for several hours because of fire equipment in the neighborhood.

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