2 escape fire that destroyed Rankin house

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A two-alarm fire destroyed a family's home in Rankin this morning.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, which started shortly after 9:30 a.m. at 21 N. Holland Ave.

Braddock fire Chief Tom Petrovic said an out-of-service fire hydrant and a nearby water main break complicated efforts, as crews were delayed in getting water to the house by a few minutes.

Investigators from the Allegheny County fire marshal's office, who will determine the blaze's cause and origin, were on scene late morning.

Frank Noonan has rented the three-story house about ten years. Several relatives live with him, but only the 76-year-old and another man, Ralph Bridgelal, who is related to him through marriage, were home when the fire started.

"All I saw was smoke and a great big boom," Mr. Noonan said.

As he was running out, he met neighbor Elizabeth Mathews at the door, who had rushed to help after seeing thick, black smoke outside followed by an explosion.

Another neighbor, Robert Miller, barged in a side door and both neighbors screamed for Mr. Bridgelal to come down from the third floor.

"We just kept screaming, 'Get out!'" Ms Mathews said.

All made it out safely, but Chief Petrovic said the home is a total loss.

The family noted that Duquesne Light had been working on a pole next to the house Thursday.

Fire marshal's investigators were looking into the possibility the blaze could have started there. Duquesne Light was on scene this afternoon.

Neither the renters nor the owner had insurance on the house, according to the fire marshal's office.

mobilehome - breaking - neigh_south

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. First Published May 31, 2013 12:00 PM


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