By Bob Allen

NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) – A two-story, wood frame house on First Street in North Versailles was heavily engulfed in flames early this morning and the fire quickly spread to the house next door.

“The initial house did collapse with no one in it, we were fighting it from the outside, a defensive attack,” said West Wilmerding Volunteer Fire Department Chief Merle Pusey. “The house did collapse as you can probably see, but no firefighter injuries, no civilian injuries.”

No one was inside the house when the fire started, but at least five people were evacuated next door.

“I’m pretty sure they were the caller, I think they were like ‘Hey, the house next door is on fire’ and they ran outside,” added Chief Pusey. “They were all in the street, they self-evacuated.”

Quiana Diaz was travelling home from a weekend trip in Ohio when she received a call that her house was on fire. By the time she arrived home, there wasn’t much left standing.

“We make due, that’s all we can do is make due,” Diaz said.

Firefighters say they had a water problem that will be addressed in the future.

Diaz lost everything, but she’s glad no one was hurt.

“That’s all that matters, my kids are safe, dogs are safe, neighbors are safe,” she said. “People can’t be replaced, but material things can.”

The American Red Cross will be assisting the two families, meanwhile the owner says she just moved in and was having some electrical problems. The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.

Donations are being accepted at the West Wilmerding Volunteer Fire Department at 307 Kline Avenue in North Versailles. They are looking for furniture and clothing for men, women and children of various ages and sizes.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Merle Pusey at (412)-583-6535.