By Ralph Iannotti

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MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is trying to determine the cause of the 3-alarm fire that destroyed two homes and damaged a vacant house in the 400 block of Woodward Avenue. Two families said they lost all their belongings in the fire.

McKees Rocks firefighters encountered a wall of flames when they arrived on scene. The fire’s intensity could be seen in a cell phone video taken by a neighbor who said he was awakened by people yelling.

The Red Cross said a dozen people, including seven children, managed to get out of the homes without injury.

Shalonda Miller’s three children were in one house at the time of the fire. Miller was at work when she said she got a call from her cousin.

“She told me the house was on fire and everybody got out safely, but my daughter is deaf, so she was scared to come down the steps,” Miller said. “They had to, like, throw her over the railing. They said, come on Tamara, let’s go. She was scared because the fire was right there in the front of the house.”

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to other nearby homes.

woodward avenue mckees rocks fire 12 People Homeless After McKees Rocks Fire

(Photo Credit: Ralph Iannotti/KDKA)

It spread quickly through the two occupied dwellings and the third home that was vacant. Two of the homes are expected to be demolished.

“We lost everything. But we’re going to be alright. We got a strong family unit. We’re all going to pull together. We’re going to bounce back,” Miller said.