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Fire Damages Three Homes, Eight Displaced

One house likely a total loss; downed power line hampered efforts

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
July 14, 2021
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Eight people — including six adults and two children — were displaced early Wednesday morning by a fire on Stewart Street that heavily damaged one home and caused additional damage to two neighboring houses.

The American Red Cross is helping the victims, who were not injured in the blaze, McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said. Four dogs were safely rescued from one of the homes, he said.

The Allegheny County fire marshal’s office is investigating.

A spokesperson for the fire marshal said the cause and origin are still undetermined, and it’s too soon to tell if the blaze was accidental or deliberately set, but that the investigation is “not leaning in either direction at this early stage.”

The fire at 3110 Stewart St. was reported to Allegheny County 9-1-1 at 12:15 a.m., possibly by a neighbor, emergency personnel said.

When crews arrived, the front porch area of the house were ablaze and flames were spreading to neighboring houses at 3108 and 3112, Tomovcsik said.

The houses in that section of Stewart Street are two-story wood-frame structures and are less than four feet apart at some points, he said.

Volunteer firefighters from Duquesne Annex, Glassport, Liberty Borough, White Oak No. 1, Versailles and Munhall No. 1 responded to the scene along with McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service, city police and the Salvation Army.

The firefighting effort was more difficult at times because a live electric wire came down in the street in front of 3110 Stewart St., Tomovcsik said. That required crews to attack the blaze from each side until power could be cut off.

The fire was under control within 30 to 35 minutes, he said.

The home at 3110 is owned by a property-management company in Dormont and was used as a rental, according to county tax records. Tomovcsik said fire damage in the first-floor living room area is “extensive” and the second floor also sustained fire damage.

The home also suffered smoke and water damage and is probably a total loss, he said. The landlord has already been in touch with the city, Tomovcsik said.

The house at 3108 — owned by the same company — also sustained smoke and water damage and is not currently habitable, Tomovcsik said.

The other house, at 3112, received exterior damage, mainly from the intense heat of the fire at 3110, and caught fire briefly, Tomovcsik said.

Volunteer firefighters from Rainbow and Dravosburg were on stand-by in McKeesport during the response, he said.

Originally published July 14, 2021.

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