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Family Pets Perish in Main St. Blaze

Fire likely started in basement; house expected to be total loss, chief says

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
December 07, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A fire on Tuesday afternoon that heavily damaged a home near Renziehausen Park is under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal.

Although the two residents were not present at the time of the blaze, five dogs were located on the second floor of the house, said Jeff Tomovcsik, McKeesport fire chief. Firefighters, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service and a UPMC paramedic administered oxygen in an attempt to revive the animals, but were not successful, he said.

The blaze at 3917 Main St. was reported just after 3 p.m. when neighbors reported seeing smoke from a window.

When crews arrived, Tomovcsik said, smoke was present from multiple windows on the first and second floors of the two-story wood frame house.

Firefighters forced entry and brought in a hose, the chief said, but one firefighter fell partly through a hole in the floor, which led crews to speculate the blaze likely started in the basement.

“We believe the fire had probably been burning for an unknown length of time before it was observed,” Tomovcsik said. “With that type of construction, fires tend to run up the inside walls, so the next truck that arrived began opening holes in the walls on the first and second floors to stop the fire from (spreading).”

Fire damage to the basement and first floor was extensive, he said, and the house sustained significant smoke damage on the second floor. Crews brought the blaze under control in about 90 minutes, Tomovcsik said.

The house will likely be a total loss, he said.

In addition to McKeesport firefighters and parademics, firefighters also responded from Allegheny County Airport, Dravosburg, Glassport, Liberty Borough, Lincoln Borough, Monroeville No. 5., Port Vue Vigilant Hose Co., Versailles, Duquesne Annex, White Oak No. 1 and Bettis, along with the Salvation Army, emergency officials said.

Firefighters returned to the Main Street home early Wednesday morning when the fire flared up again. Crews remained on the scene for several hours battling hot spots, with the last firefighters departing approximately four hours later, according to Allegheny County emergency officials.

Originally published December 07, 2022.

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