AVALON (KDKA) — Two people died in an early Tuesday morning house fire in Avalon.
Crews were called to the two-story home in the 100 block of Marie Avenue just before 3:30 a.m. Initial calls indicated people were trapped inside the home.
KDKA crews saw firefighters bring one person out of the home on a stretcher.
Avalon Police Chief Tom Kokoski confirms four people were in the home at the time, and two people died.
“There were people asleep on the bottom floor. The fire alarm supposedly woke them up and they got out. There were two people on the top floor who unfortunately didn’t make it out,” said Chief Kokoski.
Police officers and another neighbor helped rescue a disabled man from the first floor. They even saved some of the family dogs.
“[The neighbor] did go inside the residence with my officers. They were clearing the first floor. They couldn’t make it up onto the second floor. So it was a dangerous situation obviously. The neighbor did a great thing today as well as our officers,” said Chief Kokoski.
Family members at the scene identified the victims as Barbara and Ronald Wilson. They said they were married close to 38 years. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office says Ronald was 67-years-old and Barbara was 65-years-old. Neighbors said the couple took care of the disabled man.
Fire crews were all pulled out of the home at one point because of the smell of natural gas.
“It was roaring. You could literally hear it from a block away how loud it was. It was crackling. Windows breaking,” said neighbor Jason Muhl.
Muhl lives across the street from where the fire broke out.
“We heard actually screams of, ‘No, no,’ and, ‘help’ come from the house. It was pretty terrifying,” said Muhl. “I ran up to the house at first. Scary. The house is on fire. All these flames and there’s smoke and we just backed up.”
Fire officials said the weather created a little bit of a challenge during the fire fight.
“We did have a lot of icy conditions from the running water. Stuff though that made a lot of conditions hard to walk around,” said Avalon Fire Company Fire Chief Chuck Berie.
Fire investigators believe the fire started between the first and second flood and appears to be electrical in nature. At this time, officials say it has been classified as accidental, but remains under investigation.
“If there’s any criminal acts involved, which is highly unlikely at this point, we turn that over to Allegheny County Police and the homicide division,” said Kokoski.