By Pam Surano

MUNHALL, Pa. (KDKA) – A house fire in Munhall Tuesday claimed the life of one person.

The fire happened at a home near Andrew Street and East 16th Street. A witness said it almost looked like someone had poured gasoline on the home, which was engulfed with flames.

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The house is gutted on the inside. Fire investigators were inside trying to figure out what happened to the approximately 60-year-old home.

The fire started late Tuesday afternoon, though there is no word on the cause yet.

The deputy fire chief says one person died inside the home.

(Photo: KDKA)

They say it was a tough fire for firefighters because of what they call a heavy fire load, meaning they had a tough time just getting through the door because they believe the fire was burning for quite some time before crews could arrive.

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Neighbors say the man who lived at the home was a lifelong resident and had formerly dedicated his life to taking care of his mother. His name hasn’t been released yet.

“There was a lot of smoke, you couldn’t see the street,” said Munhall FD Deputy Chief Glenn Coles. “You couldn’t see the house when we pulled up. When the crews made entry and opened the door, that’s when the flash occurred, which means all the smoke turns into fire.”

Firefighters found the elderly resident of the home on the first floor, just inside the front door.

Residents in this close community told KDKA they often checked on their neighbor, occasionally bringing him meals and his mail. Somewhere between those neighborly check-ins, the fire broke out.

“It’s tough on them when you come across someone that you can’t help. It’s probably going to weigh on them for a little while,” the chief said.

(Photo: Ken Johnson)

One firefighter was transported from the scene for smoke inhalation but appears to be OK. Some other firefighters were having some rehab issues so the Salvation Army was on scene to make sure plenty of water was supplied to them.

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The county fire marshal is taking over the investigation.