STOWE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Three people, including an infant, are dead after fire ripped through a home in Stowe Township early Saturday morning.
The fire started at a home in the 700 block of Dorhman Street around 6 a.m.
When emergency crews arrived at the scene, the front of the house was fully engulfed in flames.
“The first floor front was fully engulfed. It’s an old balloon-type construction. The fire got inside the walls, and it just started… old wiring,” Stowe Township fire marshall Martin Jacobs said.
The Allegheny County coroner’s office identified the victims as 50-year-old Linda Tschudi, her son 29-year-old Michael Tschudi, Jr., and Linda’s grandson and Michael’s nephew, 5-month-old Gabriel Glikis.
Firefighters say they found Michael’s body at the bottom of the steps and Linda’s body nearby.
“Apparently they were, I guess they were making an effort to get the baby down, but the woman … we’ll never know for sure, it looks she may have tried to get the baby and bring him down the steps, but the smoke got to her, and she fell,” Jacobs said.
“The grandmother tried to go get the baby, but the flames were just too intense, and she couldn’t make it out,” family friend Gayle Lawrence said.
Lawrence says Linda Tschudi was her best friend.
“The baby was going to turn six months old for Christmas. We were gonna have a celebration, and now we can’t. And it just breaks my heart,” she said. “They wanted that child so bad and to see him gone, it’s just… I don’t know. I guess God has other plans for him.”
The baby’s parents were not home when the fire started.
Lawrence says they will help the mother get through this terrible loss.
“She’s very devastated. She’s, right now, I think she’s in shock. Both the parents are, and they just, it’s hard to try to get your head around it,” she said.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. The Red Cross is assisting three additional people who were displaced by the fire.
A relative has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for funeral costs. Donations can be made here: gofundme.com/tschudi-family-memorial.