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3 displaced in apartment unit fire

| Saturday, March 30, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Residents from the Ohio Street apartment building that caught fire Friday evening gather after evacuating their building.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Firefighters from the City of McKeesport responded to a call in the 1100 block of Ohio Street on Friday evening. The fire was contained to a second-floor apartment. Its cause is under investigation by city fire officials and the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office.

Three elderly McKeesport residents were displaced from their homes in an apartment building fire on Friday evening.

The fire started around 6:18 p.m. in a second-floor unit of a brick multi-unit dwelling at the corner of Ohio and Boyd streets. No one was hurt but the upstairs unit was heavily damaged in the blaze and the unit below sustained serious smoke and water damage.

Lynne Dorsey, who lives in the upstairs unit where the fire began, said she was sleeping when she heard her smoke alarm go off.

“Things looked normal,” she said, “But I could smell smoke.”

Dorsey said she asked her visiting grandson about the fire and he said he didn't smell it. Dorsey said she continued to investigate and found the fire when she opened a back bedroom door and was hit with a wall of smoke.

Dorsey said she ordered her grandson to leave the apartment right away and didn't even have time to get the cane she usually uses for walking.

The grandson, Jaylyn Bush, 9, said he looked out for his grandmother as she exited down a back staircase.

“I watched her each step of the way so she didn't trip,” the boy said.

An older couple on the first floor also made it out of the building safely. They had to leave their pet dog behind while fleeing but fire crews later retrieved the animal safely.

Derek Webb, 19, who lives across the street from the apartment building, said he walked out on his porch and “saw smoke pouring out of the window and pouring out of the roof.”

Webb said his mother ran over to check on the residents but they had already gotten out the building.

McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Chuck Margliotti said firefighters were notified there were residents possibly trapped in the home. Crews conducted a 15-minute search of the interior and concluded all residents were accounted for.

Margliotti said it took about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control. He said it doesn't appear that oxygen tanks Dorsey said she had in her bedroom for health reasons contributed to the fire.

Neighbors said two other units in the building were unoccupied.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office is investigating.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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