1 dead in Port Vue apartment fire as thick smoke keeps police officer at bay
A Port Vue Police lieutenant tried to rescue a man trapped in a two-alarm fire Monday morning but was driven back by thick smoke and flames, he said.
Port Vue Police Lt. David Petruski said he was the first to arrive at the San Juan Drive apartment building scene shortly after the 10:15 a.m. 911 call and found a woman outside saying that her brother was still in their first-floor apartment. From outside the smoke was light, but as he entered flames were shooting out of the apartment, and the building was impassably smoky.
"I only got a few feet in, but the smoke was black, billowing and really thick," Petruski said. As he retreated, he could hear explosions inside from oxygen tanks the man used.
Firefighters arrived shortly afterward, Petruski said. The fire appeared to have started in the living room at the front of the apartment, though he could not say how.
The man inside the apartment died, and his name had not yet been released by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office as of early Monday afternoon. Medics transported two other people from other units in the two-story brick apartment complex to local hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @msantoni.