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Allegheny

3 firefighters suffer minor injuries at Millvale rowhouse fire; 3 residents escape unharmed

Natasha Lindstrom
| Sunday, July 8, 2018, 4:27 p.m.
Two Shaler Township firefighters walk toward a Millvale rowhouse that caught fire on Sunday, July 8, 2018. Several dozen first-responders from around the region came to assist Millvale’s department.
Natasha Lindstrom | Tribune-Review
Two Shaler Township firefighters walk toward a Millvale rowhouse that caught fire on Sunday, July 8, 2018. Several dozen first-responders from around the region came to assist Millvale’s department.
Firefighters and paramedics take a break for water and shade after responding to a rowhouse on fire on Siegel Street in Millvale on Sunday, July 8, 2018.
Natasha Lindstrom | Tribune-Review
Firefighters and paramedics take a break for water and shade after responding to a rowhouse on fire on Siegel Street in Millvale on Sunday, July 8, 2018.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while putting out a fire inside a Millvale rowhouse Sunday afternoon, officials said.

Three people who were inside the three-story house on Siegel Street when the fire started around 3 p.m. escaped unharmed, Millvale Fire Chief Karl Cavanaugh said. They didn't require medical attention — but three Millvale firefighters did, Cavanaugh said.

About 3:40 p.m., one firefighter limped away from the house toward an ambulance around the corner on Beckert Street with help from two other firefighters supporting his arms and shoulders.

Two others were taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion, Cavanaugh said.

All were doing OK by 5 p.m., according to Cavanaugh.

Officials said the cause of the fire remains unclear, but it appears to have started on either the second or third level.

"Upon arrival, we had heavy smoke from the roof area," Cavanaugh said. "Crews went in, made a quick attack and brought the fire down."

Firefighters broke down the door of not only the house on fire but also of one adjacent to hit.

Neighbor Prudy Myers, 42, was visiting her mother when she got a call from her cousin that the house next to hers was burning. By the time she arrived, crews had broken down her door and were tearing through her wall to get access to it. She was worried about her cat, dog and bird as she tried to make hotel arrangements through her insurance company.

"They (officials) told my cousin to get out. He took the dog and ran," Myers said. "I'm supposed to leave and go on vacation tomorrow for a week, and now I'm not going."

Several other neighbors reported hearing loud popping sounds that resembled fireworks and a bang or explosion before spotting smoke seeping from the roof.

It took about a half hour to put the fire out, Cavanaugh said.

At least a dozen agencies responded to help, including fire departments and paramedics from Etna, Sharpsburg, Shaler, Ross, West View and Berkeley Hills.

The Salvation Army passed out water bottles and snacks to firefighters and paramedics resting between shifts under a canopy tent.

Just the two houses were affected by the fire and efforts to extinguish it, Cavanaugh said.

The residents of the house that caught fire were not identified.

The Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania said it was helping two adults and one child put out of their home by the fire.

Cavanaugh said officials had no obvious leads on the cause of the fire.

The fire marshal is investigating.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at nlindstrom@tribweb.com, 412-380-8514 or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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