MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — The Red Cross is helping six families after a late-night fire inside an apartment building in McKees Rocks.

The fire at the apartment building on Wayne Avenue broke out around 10 p.m. Sunday.

The McKees Rocks building inspector returned to the scene Monday morning and condemned the heavily damaged building.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Melanie Smajda was watching television in the building when she was first alerted to the fire.

“I heard somebody yelling outside, so I opened my curtain and I looked, and there’s a guy out there yelling, ‘Your apartment building is on fire.’ And I was like ‘Oh, no.’ So, I grabbed what I could, I grabbed my dog,” said Smajda.

She believes the fire started in a unit on the lower level. There are eight units in the building.

Smajda says she’s thankful for the quick response from firefighters.

“It started in the bottom left and it just went up. They got here quick,” she said.

She said firefighters made sure everyone got out of the building.

Mary Joyce was thankful her pets survived.

“The firefighters did a phenomenal job. They saved my animals,” said Joyce, another resident of the building.

The residents say the tragedy of the fire showed their strength as a community.

“It was hard watching the flames shoot up. It’s my life going up in flames,” said Smajda. “But it’s a great sense of community, everyone has been more than helpful.”

“The community here is gathered together to give me what I need, a shelter this night, a home for my little small creatures, anything. So, all the stigma about McKees Rocks, throw it out the window, because they’re one big community and they care,” added Joyce.

Lisa Washington