LARIMER (KDKA) — It was first reported as a fire late Wednesday.
However, when firefighters got to the duplex in the 900 block of Washington Boulevard, they found more than just flames.
“They entered the building, got the fire out pretty quickly, and in fact, discovered a deceased body inside the fire,” Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Commander Michael Pilyih said.
At that point, Commander Pilyih said investigators were unable to tell if it was a man or a woman and whether they were dead prior to the fire starting.
“Whenever you’re not certain if this was an accidental fire or anything else, you would absolutely treat it as a crime scene,” Commander Pilyih said.
Detectives returned Thursday, looking to gather more evidence. They are looking at footage from security cameras at Clean Car Express across the street.
“I do have 43 cameras that cover the site. We are able to pick up across the street some, so they are looking at them as we speak,” Rich Donato, who owns Clean Car Express, said.
Nobody was working at the car wash when the fire broke out.
“We were closed. I did look in remotely from my camera system at home. I saw the activity down here,” Donato said.
Washington Boulevard was shut down for a time as firefighters were getting the fire under control. When the body was discovered on the first floor, detectives immediately began a thorough investigation of the duplexes that have been vacant for some time.
“I always thought it was an eyesore and it just invites crime,” Donato said, regarding the vacant duplexes.
KDKA noticed a condemnation notice from 2017 posted on the door.
“They should do something with the houses. They shouldn’t be there. They have been vacant for a long time. They should be torn down,” Donato said.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner has yet to release the identity of the person found dead. The Allegheny County Fire Marshal has yet to release the cause of the fire.