Investigators believe smoking ignited oxygen tanks and started a fire that killed a 75-year-old man early Thursday in Castle Shannon.
The Allegheny County medical examiner's office said Donald Dyson died of both burns and smoke inhalation in the accidental blaze.
Officials said the fire was first reported shortly before 4 a.m. in a duplex in the 900 block of Sleepy Hollow Road, where neighbors said Mr. Dyson lived with his longtime partner.
Borough volunteer fire Chief Bill Reffner said both people living in the home had medical problems, and early reports indicate smoking and oxygen tanks sparked the fire.
Neighbor Darlene Mrazek said she heard an alarm and breaking glass shortly before 4 a.m. Her husband, Craig, went outside to find the house on fire.
After calling 911, she went to the back of the burning home while her husband went to the front and managed to open the door and pull a person onto the front porch.
"He went into the house to try to see if they were alive," she said, her voice breaking.
At one point, she said, the couple watched as "flames were coming out of the front of the house."
Mr. Mrazek was not hurt in the effort. He left for work Thursday morning to try to keep busy, his wife said.
Initially, there was some confusion about who Mr. Mrazek pulled out of the home. He thought it was the woman who lives there, but she was at a Pittsburgh hospital at the time, the fire chief said.
Ms. Mrazek said Mr. Dyson was a friendly neighbor who enjoyed motorcycles and weekend visits from his daughter, who lives out of town.
"They were both very sick," she said of Mr. Dyson and his partner, "but I think they loved each other very much."
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944. Twitter: @borntolede. First Published October 17, 2013 2:49 AM