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Allegheny

24 residents of Hill District apartment building displaced after fire

Renatta Signorini
| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, 8:06 a.m.

Two dozen people were displaced Saturday after a fire broke out at a high-rise apartment building in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood.

Firefighters rescued one resident from a second-floor balcony at Ebenezer Towers at about 5:10 p.m., according to public safety spokeswoman Alicia George.

An 85-year-old woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of burns to her foot. A second resident was evaluated for a pre-existing condition and released from a hospital.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

The 10-story building on Dinwiddie Street has a sprinkler system, Pittsburgh Fire Chef Darryl Jones said.

“The sprinkler system was very instrumental in saving lives and preventing further damage to the high rise,” Jones said in a news release.

Jones recently petitioned Pittsburgh City Council for an ordinance that would require owners of Pittsburgh buildings that are six stories or higher and lack sprinkler systems to install them within 13 years or face a maximum penalty of $1,000 per day.

Council delayed a vote after hearing complaints from residents about the costs of installing sprinklers in condominium buildings.

The ordinance is on hold pending a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 26.

The Hill District building has 99 occupied apartments. Many of the residents are elderly and suffer from medical conditions, George said.

Most residents were with family members or allowed back inside their apartments after officials deemed the upper floors to be safe.

The American Red Cross is helping 24 residents who lived on the first two floors and were displaced because of heavy smoke and water damage, George said.

Several agencies helped evacuated residents with temporary shelter, food and medications, including Port Authority Transit, The Center for Family Excellence, The Salvation Army and Pittsburgh police and EMS.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta. Staff writer Bob Bauder contributed.

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