EAST DEER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A home in East Deer was irreversibly destroyed on Friday in less than 60 seconds after a pickup truck struck a gas line.
The picture only begins to tell the story.READ MORE: Opening Day Set For 2022 Trout Season In Pennsylvania
Joe Moxie said he heard an explosion and ran down Freeport Road in time to see the flames leap onto his house next door.
“The house behind me was a ball of fire,” Moxie said. “The pickup truck was stuck in it.”
The two homes on either side of the residence that was destroyed were also heavily damaged.
“It’s just very sad very sad, especially at this time of year,” Moxie added.
As smoke continued to billow out of the home, Ann Bair told KDKA’s Nicole Ford she heard metal crunch and ran outside without her shoes to check it out.
“I ran around back to the house that was on fire, and they were trying to get out the back door and they couldn’t get it open,” said Bair. “So they busted the window and she just started shoving her kids through the thing and I just grabbed them.”
“I had to get them out. You couldn’t just let them burn,” Bair added.READ MORE: Pittsburgh's Gingerbread House Competition Remains Virtual In 2021
That woman trying to save her own children from the flames was Aaron Ciccanti’s pregnant fiance.
“The smoke was too thick, and the flames were already in the house,” Ciccanti said. “I couldn’t get into them, I couldn’t even breathe. I was choking trying to get out of the house.”
Ciccanti said their home went up in flames in less than sixty seconds.
East Deer police said a pickup truck blew a tire and struck two other cars before rupturing the gas line that eventually caused the house to burn.
“Everything I own, everything we all own is gone,” Ciccanti said.
Despite being left without a home, Ciccanti said they still have each other.
“What happened was an absolute tragedy but also an act of God that we made it out alive,” he said.
The fire chief said that this happened in the middle of the day. They had about 10 departments respond in order to completely extinguish the flames, and crews were pumping out about 2,000 gallons of water per minute for an hour.
Just hours before the fire, four young children were playing inside with their Christmas gifts from Santa. Firefighters said it’s a miracle that no one here was injured. The family’s two cats did not survive the fire.MORE NEWS: Woman Dies From Injuries Sustained In Multi-Vehicle Crash On I-79
Crews had to restore internet to multiple homeowners in East Deer. East Deer residents were also enduring phone outages at this time.
E Deer: County 9-1-1 has been advised of a Comcast phone outage due to the earlier fire in E Deer. Comcast is working on the situation and hopes that service will be restored soon. In the interim, individuals with Comcast phone service should use a cell phone to call 9-1-1.
— Allegheny County (@Allegheny_Co) December 28, 2019