MT. WASHINGTON (KDKA) — A 5-alarm fire engulfed three abandoned buildings in Mt. Washington on Sunday afternoon.

It started in the 100-block of Boggs Avenue around 12:30 p.m.

Firefighters were forced to stay on the defense,  high tension wires prevented them from using aerial trucks to pour water on the wood-framed structures.

High winds blew the thick smoke across the street toward a senior citizen high rise. Judy Johnson lives in the building.

“It’s going right inside of the windows and the doors and the windows in the hallways are all open and there’s a lot of ladies with COPD, there’s a lot of ladies that got oxygen and there’s a lot of guys on oxygen,” she said.

Pittsburgh Public Safety officials tweeted a warning asking residents in the area to keep doors and windows closed because of the smoke.

Officials confirmed the buildings were vacant. No injuries were reported.

The Public Works Department will place barricades around the structures in an effort to keep people out of harm’s way until the compromised structures can be demolished.

Neighbor Melissa Rossiter believes she knows how the blaze began.

“I am absolutely certain it was arson. Number one, the buildings been abandoned for four years, number two, it had no electric it had no gas and the windows have been broken out, the property owner has been absentee,” she said.

75 firefighters were needed to bring the inferno under control.

The Arson Unit is investigating.

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