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PORT VUE (KDKA) – One man was killed when a fire broke out at an apartment building in Port Vue Monday morning.
According to emergency dispatchers, the fire started in the 300 block of San Juan Drive around 10 a.m.
The fire started in a first floor unit, where a woman who is deaf lived with her brother.
“As I was going up the steps, I did notice the flames coming out of the window and a female standing on the front porch screaming, ‘My brother is inside, my brother is inside.’ At this point, the flames became a lot higher and deeper. I attempted to make entry into the hallway. I was inundated by black smoke and only made it in a few feet. I had to turn around and exit due to the smoke,” Port Vue Police Lt. David Petruski said.
Neighbor Brian Olishar also heard the woman screaming for her brother. He helped other residents escape from the eight-unit apartment building.
“I started banging, and the apartment next to us, was able to bang on their windows,” said Olishar. “They were in their bedroom and they had the doors shut. So they were on the first floor, so we were able to get them and their cats out.”
Several cats and a turtle were also rescued from a second-floor apartment.
Firefighters had to use a ladder to rescue some people from the top floor.
“A couple of people were rescued from the top apartment building via ladder. They went to various surrounding hospitals, and from what I understand, they’re going to be okay,” said Asst. Chief Brandon Hale, of the Port Vue Fire Department.
The identity of the victim has not been released at this time, but officials say he was 59-years-old.
The cause of the fire is unknown. There were oxygen tanks inside the building, which contributed to the fire.
The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, and the Red Cross is assisting six to eight residents with food, clothing and shelter.