Homestead fire under control, Red Cross assists tenants

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Nearly a dozen fire trucks descended Friday night on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Ann Street in Homestead as a fire on the second floor of an apartment building set off three alarms, blanketing the space with smoke.

Firefighters from several other Allegheny County boroughs were called to the scene, including Swissvale and Homeville. There were no injuries among residents or responding firefighters, said Homestead Fire Chief Jim Barca. The extensive response effort was merited by the size of the building and numerous false ceilings, which made it difficult to put the fire out immediately, Mr. Barca said.

The fire marshal is still investigating the fire's cause, Mr. Barca said. It began in the second floor in the middle of the building. He added there is extensive smoke and water damage to the building and estimated  residents will not be able to return to the building for some time. The Red Cross was on the scene to assist the tenants.

Elroy Moore, 44, was in his second-floor apartment taking a nap before going to work when he awoke to the smell of smoke and the sound of sirens. When he opened the door to the hallway all he could see was black smoke, he said. He exited the building via a ladder on Eight Avenue.

"I've never seen this many fire trucks in my life," Vickie Gambs, who lives down the street from the apartment building, said.

A call for service first came into Allegheny County at 8:27 p.m., an emergency dispatch supervisor said.


First Published June 13, 2014 9:10 PM

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