McKeesport fire leaves family of 6 homeless
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, April 26, 2013, 4:16 a.m.
Flames swept through a three-story frame house in McKeesport on Thursday night, leaving a family of six homeless.
Desha Jones, her husband and their four children all had left the house at 1730 Butler St. about half an hour before the fire broke out around 7.
“I thank God for telling us, ‘Let's go bowling,'” Jones told Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI.
Jones' landlord Monica Dawkins said the family's dog perished in the fast-moving blaze.
One firefighter sustained a minor injury.
The fire was discovered by a McKeesport police patrol.
“They smelled smoke, noticed the house was fully involved and called it in,” police Chief Bryan J. Washowich said.
County dispatchers put the time of the call at 7:11. City firefighters, assisted by White Oak volunteers, brought the blaze under control within an hour.
“Deputy Chief Don Sabol said he saw flames on the first floor and (the fire) worked its way up the wall,” city fire Chief Kevin Lust said.
Dawkins and her husband Danny bought the house in 2007.
“I got a call,” said Monica Dawkins, who was standing outside the house with her husband. “Our daughter said a neighbor came to our residence, banging on the door, saying the rental house is on fire.”
A neighbor said the landlord had been told to change the fuses. Jones told WPXI that an electrician had been called on Sunday night.
“The house was always kept in good condition,” Monica Dawkins said. “They always kept it nice.”
A county deputy fire marshal was on the scene.
While a neighbor wondered if there was enough water, Lust said there was no problem.
“We had enough lines,” he said. “Everything was full. We handled that fire with one truck.”
Lust said the fire was limited to one house.
A spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region said the Jones family is being assisted with food, clothing and shelter.
Glassport volunteers were on standby and the Salvation Army responded to the scene.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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