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Fire Displaces Family of Six, AC Unit Suspected

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
June 21, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A family of six was displaced Friday evening by a fire that may have begun in a window air-conditioning unit.

McKeesport deputy fire Chief Gene Esken Jr. said two men working at the nearby Zion Apostolic Assembly Church on Jenny Lind Street heard a loud noise outside just before 5 p.m.

When they went outside to investigate, they saw the air-conditioning unit on the house across the street ablaze.

The first units arrived to find flames showing in two second-story windows, Esken said. No one was home at the time of the blaze.

The home’s contents sustained heavy smoke and water damage but no one was injured, Esken said.

Esken said a mother and her five children were displaced by the fire and are being helped by the American Red Cross. The family did not have insurance.

The fire is under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office but is not believed to be suspicious in nature.

Esken said window air-conditioners, like space heaters, draw a heavy electrical load. For that reason, he said, AC units should be plugged directly into a wall outlet and never into a power strip or extension cord.

Esken added he not suggesting that a power strip or extension cord caused Friday’s fire. “It’s general advice we try to give people about fire safety,” he said. “In this case, the woman on Jenny Lind Street said her AC units were plugged directly into an outlet.”

Firefighters from Allegheny County Airport, Citizens Hose of Glassport, Vigilant Hose Co. of Port Vue, Duquesne Annex and White Oak No. 1 responded along with the Salvation Army.

Originally published June 21, 2022.

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