58-year-old woman dies in Ambridge apartment fire

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A woman killed Sunday in an Ambridge apartment fire has been identified as Arlene Pickett.

The 58-year-old resident of the John F. Kennedy Apartments was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:30 p.m, Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi said today.

An autopsy is expected to be completed late this afternoon.

Five other people --  adults and children -- were injured and transported to hospitals.

Ambridge Fire Chief David Drewnowski said his department and the state fire marshal's office are continuing to investigate what caused the blaze in the three-story brick building that forced residents to jump from top windows onto mattresses hauled to the site by neighbors.

When they arrived, emergency responders used ladders to rescue tenants.

The fire broke out about 4:25 p.m. Sunday in a second-story living room, the chief said. Firefighters had the blaze under control within an hour.

Ambridge was assisted by the Baden, Harmony and Fair Oaks fire departments and the Crescent rapid intervention team.

Ms. Pickett lived on the third floor and was found by firefighters unconscious on a stairwell between the second and third stories.

Firefighters and then paramedics gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administered oxygen and used a portable defibrillator to no avail, Chief Drewnowski said.

Investigators combed through the wreckage Sunday and will return tomorrow, Chief Drewnowski said. They have not determined a cause.

Residents of 12 apartments were displaced, and the local chapter of the American Red Cross assisted 14 people with food, clothing and shelter.

The Housing Authority of the County of Beaver owns the property.

No one could be reached Monday from the authority.


Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.

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