Cause of Bellevue blaze that injured firefighters under investigation


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The cause of a Tuesday night fire in Bellevue remains under investigation this morning after flames forced the evacuation of an apartment building and several firefighters were injured.

The blaze at 51 Lincoln Ave. appears to have started on the third floor in the back of the building, Bellevue fire marshal Jeff Wissner said.

The fire was reported shortly after 7 p.m.

Mr. Wissner said firefighters??? injuries included smoke inhalation and exhaustion. He was unsure how many were taken to the hospital but believed all had been released.

The fire displaced residents in all nine units, Mr. Wissner said. The third floor suffered extensive fire damage, and the second and first floors and the basement also saw heavy smoke and water damage.

"The biggest problem we had was the fire had a heck of a head start on us," Mr. Wissner said, noting flames spread quickly and moved into empty spaces in the roof and walls.

Mr. Wissner said it was too early to say where exactly the fire may have started in the back of the third floor. Witnesses told firefighters they saw the rear balcony on fire as well as an apartment.

Investigators today have to sift through debris in the building as they begin to determine what caused the fire. The Allegheny County fire marshal's office is helping Bellevue in the investigation.

Local American Red Cross staff and volunteers were helping 11 adults and two children Tuesday night with food, clothing and shelter.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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