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County Identifies Victim of Munhall High-Rise Fire

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
December 16, 2016
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the victim of a fire that swept through a Munhall senior citizen high rise on Friday morning.

Richard Miller, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene of the blaze at Parkview Towers on Caroline Drive.

The fire in the seven-story building, owned by a corporation affiliated with the United Methodist Church, was reported just before 5 a.m. and took two hours to bring under control.

More than 20 fire companies from as far away as Westmoreland County were called to the scene, which forced the evacuation of 80 people, some of them with serious disabilities, county officials said.

Seven residents of the building suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals, said Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County emergency services, and three Munhall police officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation after they helped evacuate the building.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal, Brown said.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency also is assisting the fire victims, he said.

Temperatures this morning were only 4 degrees above zero, with a wind chill of -7 degrees, according to the National Weather Service at Moon Twp. The bitter cold provided special challenges, Brown said.

Port Authority transit buses were used as temporary shelters and transportation for displaced residents, and Allegheny County public works crews salted the streets around the fire scene as water used to fight the blaze froze into ice. West Mifflin Area School District also sent buses to the scene.

In addition, Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church on Main Street opened its doors as a temporary shelter, Brown said. The American Red Cross, Allegheny County Human Services and the Salvation Army also responded to assist with housing and food, Brown said.

Responding departments and agencies included 23 fire departments, 19 EMS agencies, 9 police departments and various others.  A complete list of those responding follow:

Responding agencies included Munhall volunteer fire companies 1, 2, 3 and 4, along with firefighters from West Homestead, Homeville, Duquesne Annex, West Mifflin No. 3, Skyview, Homestead, Dravosburg, Glassport No. 1, North Braddock, Whitaker, Edgewood, Jefferson 885, Lincoln Borough, Monroeville fire companies 4 and 6, and Logan's Ferry, and from Westmoreland County, fire crews from Sardis, Larimer, White Valley, Washington Twp., and Collinsburg.

The Westmoreland crews brought tanker trucks of water to the scene, Brown said.

Also responding were medics from Munhall Area Prehospital Services, Baldwin EMS, Eastern Area Prehospital Services, Medical Rescue Team South, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service, Penn Hills EMS, Northwest EMS, Elizabeth Twp. Area EMS, the City of Pittsburgh, Ross-West View EMS, Robinson Twp EMS, Tri-Community South EMS, Brentwood EMS, and from Westmoreland, North Huntingdon Twp. EMS and Murrysville Medic One.

Police from Duquesne, Homestead, Pittsburgh, West Homestead, West Mifflin and Whitaker also assisted, along with Allegheny County police and sheriff's deputies.

Originally published December 16, 2016.

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