HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) — A fire broke out at a senior apartment building in the Hill District on Saturday afternoon.
It happened shortly after 5 p.m. at Ebenezer Towers on Dinwiddie Street. The 101-unit complex offers affordable housing for those 62 and older. Ninety-nine apartments are occupied.
“First arriving units on scene saw fire and smoke and people standing on the balconies waiting to be rescued,” Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said.
Hill District: 2- alarm fire at Ebenezer Towers on Dinwiddie Street. So far, no reported injuries. Residents being evacuated to Zone 2 police station. The cause of the fire is under investigation. pic.twitter.com/uRTa8TAYH6
— Pgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) November 17, 2018
Eunice Bradberry lives on the second floor of the building and says the fire started three doors down from her apartment.
“When I opened up the door, it was nothing but black smoke and some fire. I closed the door and went to my balcony because that’s where I needed to be until the fire department came and knocked on my door,” she said.
The fire began in resident Vivan Hayes’ apartment.
“I was sitting at the coffee table and I heard something, pow boom pow, like that, and I got up and there was fire,” Hayes said.
It took a large number of fire and EMS crews to evacuate residents with walkers and wheelchairs out into the cold. Medics also helped secure needed medications for those in need during the evacuation.
Zone 2 officers opened their doors to their neighbors in need. The Port Authority brought in a warming bus and the Salvation Army provided hot beverages and blankets.
Jones says the building was partially sprinklered and that was key.
“Those sprinklers did their job by containing this fire and because of that, I credit that for no loss of life and no injuries,” he said.
The Center for Family Excellence took in the majority of the displaced residents. Residents who lived above the third floor were allowed back into their apartments Saturday night. The 24 residents who lived on the second floor, where the fire broke out, and the first floor, which sustained water damage, are being helped with temporary housing by the Red Cross.
Officials say one 85-year-old woman suffered burns to her foot and was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. A male resident was transported to a local hospital for evaluation due to a pre-existing condition and has since been released.
The fire is under investigation. No one is speculating on the possible cause.