ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Officials ID 3 killed in house fire, including infant

| Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, 9:21 a.m.
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Natasha Lindstrom
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Megan Guza | Tribune - Review
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township.  The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Natasha Lindstrom
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township.  The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Natasha Lindstrom
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township.  The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016
Firefighters battled flames Saturday morning at a home along Dohrman Street in Stowe Township. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a grandmother, her infant grandson and another relative died in the incident. Dec. 25, 2016

Justin Smith woke Christmas Eve morning to firefighters banging on his doors, alerting him that his family was in danger and needed to evacuate their Stowe home.

Next door, firefighters raced to extinguish a fire ripping through a two-story house in which three of Smith's family members were trapped.

"I started going out the front, but the flames were like rushing this way, so I had to exit out the back door," said Smith, 29, who managed to get his 4-year-old son and grandmother to safety.

Soon after, he learned his aunt, cousin and cousin's 5-month-old son in the house next door had died.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the dead as Linda Tschudi, 50; Michael Tschudi Jr., 29; and Gabriel Glikis, 5 months old.

Smith said Linda Tschudi, his aunt, was a mother of three adult children. His cousin Michael worked at a nearby pizza shop.

"He was a good dude. He always had something funny to say," said Smith, who phoned Gabriel's mother to alert her to the fire.

Linda Tschudi had volunteered to babysit while the baby's mother, her daughter, went out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping, Smith said.

"They were good people."

Linda Tschudi's other son, Eric Tschudi, arrived and attempted to rescue them, Smith said.

"His brother and mother were inside, so he tried rushing in, but the fire department wouldn't let him in," said Smith.

The fire started just after 6 a.m. at the single-family home on Dohrman Street, according to fire marshal Martin Jacobs. He said a 5-month-old infant was found on the second floor. The two adults were found at the bottom of the stairs.

Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV reported the fire was under control about 7 a.m.

The fire tore through the two-story single-family home, charting everything inside and leaving just the shell still standing.

Jacobs said the cause has not been determined.

"Everything is still under investigation right now," Jacobs said.

"I feel so bad. … I have grandkids, too," said Janet Arnold, 59, who lives around the corner from the house that caught fire and whose son is a volunteer firefighter who was called to the scene. "They were too late."

Gail Lawrence lives nearby and was friends with the grandmother who was killed and with the infant's mother, who was not in the home.

"It breaks my heart," she said. "I can't even wrap my head around it."

She said that from what she understands, the grandmother tried to get to the infant but couldn't make it through the flames.

"The baby was spending the night at grandma's and the next you know God took him on Christmas Eve day."

She said friends will rally around the family.

"If I could change it all over I would, but I can't," she said.

Natasha Lindstrom and Megan Guza are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Lindstrom at 412-380-8514 or nlindstrom@tribweb.com. Reach Guza at mguza@tribweb.com.

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.

click me