Mt. Lebanon couple killed in house fire
Investigators searched for the cause of a fire Thursday that killed a Mt. Lebanon couple whom neighbors described as quiet but kind and willing to help others.
“They would do anything for you,” Mary Sullivan, 49, said of her next-door neighbors, Dennis Miller, 61, and Susan Miller, 56. “It breaks my heart.”
A neighbor saw flames coming from the house in the 900 block of McNeilly Road and reported the fire at 7:22 a.m., Mt. Lebanon police Deputy Chief Mike Gallagher said.
The house was engulfed when police and fire crews arrived, Gallagher said, and the roof collapsed shortly afterward. It appears the fire was burning for at least 20 minutes before firefighters arrived, Mt. Lebanon fire Chief Nick Sohyda said.
“There's no doubt in my mind that those residents were deceased before we arrived because of the volume of fire,” Sohyda said. “There was no way we were going to save them.”
Firefighters contained the fire in about 25 minutes and found the victims inside, Gallagher said. One firefighter suffered a minor knee injury when he slipped and fell, Sohyda said.
Allegheny County Chief Deputy fire Marshal Donald Brucker said the blaze started on a living room sofa and that both victims were found in the kitchen. He said authorities don't know the cause of the fire, but it doesn't appear to be suspicious. Firefighters and officials from Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon, Dormont and Allegheny County responded.
Neighbors said the Millers both had health problems. Susan Miller fell and broke a bone earlier this year, and Dennis Miller was on oxygen, Sullivan said.
Sullivan, who works a night shift, said she was eating at a diner when she saw fire trucks go by. She broke down in tears when she learned the Millers died.
“I just feel so bad,” Sullivan said. “You feel helpless. Maybe if I had been here, I could've smelled something or heard something.”
The Millers raised two daughters. They could not be reached for comment Thursday. One of the daughters often brought her son to visit his grandparents.
“They loved their kids,” Sullivan said. “We would talk over the fence. Both said anytime I needed anything to come let them know. They haven't had an easy life.”
Susan Miller recently retired from working in a school cafeteria, and Dennis Miller was on disability after a work-related injury, neighbors said.
“Both of them have been in bad health for a while,” said Nancy Manolios, 61, who lives across the street. “This past year we've seen ambulances taking them both out multiple times.”
Manolios said her husband called 911 when he saw the flames. She stood with her daughter in their driveway as firefighters worked to douse the fire.
“We were watching, hoping,” Manolios said. “It was unbelievable. Just heartbreaking.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- 1 intruder killed, another injured in Carrick home invasion
- Derry Township assault suspect arrested
- Pirates notebook: Polanco, Puig held out of series opener
- Ukrainian festival will go on in McKees Rocks despite crisis in homeland
- UPMC McKeesport president reiterates hospital will remain open
- Moody’s downgrades Pa. rating; Corbett ponders pension reform session
- Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
- Latrobe’s Ci Medical Technologies transforms to medical device business
- Timmons feels pressure to transform Steelers back into contender
- California police: Suspect shielded self with infant during arrest