DERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A family scrambled to safety after their house caught on fire in Derry Township.
According to the woman that lived in the home, this is the fifth time she’s dealt with a house fire.
“In the last seven years, I’ve been in five house fires,” said Amy Highberger. “My priority was getting my kids out.”
The fire gutted half of the duplex Highberger, her mother, sister, and three children lived in.
Cell phone video showed what firefighters were up against on North Ruby Street.
“It was flames everywhere, flames everywhere,” said Brian Hall, the homeowner.
According to Hall, the fire destroyed the home he had as a rental property and worked to make it a nice home.
“We just put a new furnace in it, new hot water tank, got all new windows in it, had it all repainted,” he said.
As Highberger and Hall watched the flames engulf the house, firefighters had a huge problem on their hands.
“There was no water, they had to tank the waters in,” said Hall.
When they attempted to hook up to a fire hydrant, it didn’t work despite being inspected in April. With no water, they headed up the street.
“The one at the top, when they cranked it on and hooked the hoses to it, it blew the water line up the top,” said Hall.
According to the Derry Township Water Authority, the first hydrant was tampered with, rendering it useless.
“I came down off the hill and everyone kept telling me fireworks were exploding inside the house, but I don’t know if that’s true,” Hall said.
Highberger and family are staying with relatives and the cause of the remains under investigation.
“I don’t like it, I don’t know what to do about it, there’s nothing I can do about, just try to move on,” Hall said about the fire.