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Kitchen Fire Forces Midtown Apts. Evacuation; No Injuries

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
March 29, 2018
Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

A fire on top of a kitchen stove forced the evacuation Wednesday night of the Midtown Plaza Apartments.

All 131 apartments in the building had to be evacuated and all off-duty McKeesport firefighters were called to the scene, along with volunteers from Glassport and Duquesne Annex.

McKeesport deputy fire Chief Tom Perciavalle said crews were finishing up at a call in the 500 block of Walnut Street just after 10 p.m. when they were dispatched to the senior-citizen high rise.

Firefighters forced entry to a locked second-floor apartment and found it filled with thick, black smoke, Perciavalle said. The residents were not home at the time of the fire.

The evacuation "went fairly well, actually," Perciavalle said. "It was very organized, and everyone was patient. We had a few people with special needs, and some people who needed wheelchairs."

Crews from McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service assisted at the scene, and volunteer firefighters from Dravosburg and White Oak were on standby.

The Allegheny County fire marshal's office is investigating the blaze. Perciavalle said from the fire department's initial evaluation, the fire appeared to have started in a kitchen stove and then spread to the cabinets.

Damage was limited to the kitchen and the door of the affected apartment and the fire was out within 30 minutes, he said. Residents returned to their rooms after 12 midnight. No injuries were reported, Perciavalle said.

The apartment blaze capped a busy evening for city firefighters. Earlier in the evening, crews were called to Charlie's New Convenience Store on Walnut Street for a report of smoke in the building.

Firefighters believe a motor in a cooler was malfunctioning, but electricity was temporarily shut off until the building owner could investigate.

McKeesport crews also responded Wednesday night to a two-vehicle accident at the corner of Walnut Street and Lysle Boulevard, and to a hit-and-run accident at the corner of Eden Park Boulevard and Tulip Drive in Renziehausen Park.

No one was injured in the first accident. In the second, a driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of an arm injury. McKeesport police are investigating reports that a silver SUV fled the scene.

Originally published March 29, 2018.

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