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Abandoned house fires light up night sky in McKeesport

| Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10:21 a.m.

At least two separate abandoned houses went up in flames Friday, lighting up the night sky around 10 o'clock along the 700 block of East Street in McKeesport's Eighth Ward Fawcett Plan neighborhood."My wife went to bed and saw the fire in the basement (of 711 East St.) and I called the fire department," neighbor Dennis Moffat said. "Neither of us saw the second fire (at 719 East) until I came out onto the street."Allegheny County dispatchers also had reports that a third building was affected by the flames a short distance away along Bennett and Shields streets, but that could not be confirmed at presstime.Dispatchers said the first call came in at 10:10 p.m. The flames rose quickly and could be seen along Grandview Avenue and by motorists passing Auberle.There was no report of injuries but Allegheny County dispatchers said two Lincoln tankers were called in to supplement a lack of hydrants in the vicinity of the structures.McKeesport firefighters were using a ladder truck to attack the flames.Glassport and White Oak firefighters were called in for operational support while West Mifflin volunteers were called as a rapid intervention unit.While both house fires along East Street appeared to be nearly out an hour after the first call, half an hour later Circleville volunteers from North Huntingdon Township were called shortly before midnight as a stand-by unit.The cause of the fires is under investigation. A county dispatch shift supervisor said the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office had been called to the scene.Both houses along East Street were two-floor frame structures.One had a $4,750 sales price several years ago, the other $2,500, according to the Allegheny County real estate website.

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