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MCCANDLESS, Pa. (KDKA) — Residents who lost nearly everything in a massive apartment building fire along Babcock Boulevard in McCandless were cleaning up and helping one another today.

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It was a constant flow of residents recovering anything they could. Some residents could be seen out on the lawn surveying what little was left of their homes and valuables.

The Allegheny County fire marshall was there all day, with a drone in the air investigating the cause of Wednesday’s massive blaze at Durham Court Apartments along Babcock Boulevard in McCandless.


Some residents described the building, especially the third floor where the roof collapsed, as a war zone.

“People are just grateful that they were able to get out … with their skin so to speak,” said Mark Medford, whose step-daughter was rescued by firefighters from the apartment building yesterday.

“The ceiling fell straight down,” said Jeanne Maier. For her, the building holds a lifetime of memories. She first moved in on the first floor with her mom 30 years ago.

After she lost her mom, Maier moved to the third floor — where the fire started on Wednesday.

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“I said, ‘If I get to the third floor, only God’s above me and he’d better behave himself,'” Maier recalls. “So up until yesterday, He was pretty good.”

Maier describes what she lost inside, “Thirty years of family things from other countries and my mother’s diamonds.”

Residents carried out boxes, clothes and were salvaging any personal mementos possible. The water and smoke damage throughout the building is significant.

“It’s been hard,” Medford said. “We’ve just been trying to salvage everything we possibly can.”

Residents could be seen helping one another — a bond, they say, made stronger due to the hardship and one that’s brought out the goodness in others.

“It makes you feel good about the world and all the crappy stuff people not wanting to get along, it shouldn’t be,” Maier said.

The Red Cross is assisting. Nearly 20 people displaced residents are now staying in hotels or with family and friends.

The Town of McCandless Fire Department says they are working with insurance adjusters trying to figure out whether the building can be saved or if it must be taken down.

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No cause has been determined yet. Investigators believe it was an accident.