Fire decimates McCandless apartment building | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Fire decimates McCandless apartment building

Tony LaRussa

A four-alarm fire raged through an apartment complex in McCandless on Wednesday morning, damaging at least 30 units.

A passerby reported the fire shortly before 9:30 a.m. and emergency response units were on scene at the Durham Court Apartments within 5 minutes, according to the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office, which is investigating the fire.

The entrance to the apartment complex is located at 9500 Babcock Boulevard.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flame when they arrived and called for additional fire companies to assist.

In all, 26 fire departments responded to the incident or were placed on alert to assist if needed, the county fire marshal said.

“It is very early into the investigation, so we will not speculate as to the cause or origin at this time,” said Matthew Brown, the county’s chief fire marshal.

No injuries are reported to residents or firefighters, but 45 residents have been displaced as a result of the fire.

The fire destroyed much of the three-story building’s roof and the 30 units suffered significant damage from flames, smoke and water, said McCandless Fire Marshal Dan Stack.

Even after the bulk of the fire was extinguished, flames rekindled in several locations. Firefighters were on scene into the early afternoon dousing flareups.


Stack said the apartments are uninhabitable and residents will be offered assistance from the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Jane Ditmore, 59, who lives in an apartment across the driveway from the units that caught fire, said she was home sick from her job and heard a commotion outside. A short time later she heard firefighters arrive.

“I’m happy that there’s not many people at home during the day because they’re at work,” she said. “I was just bawling my eyes out when I realized that they probably lost everything.”

Stack said firefighters were trying to locate a number of pets who lived in the building.

The complex is located near the A.W. Beattie Career Center and is not far from UPMC Passavant Hospital and La Roche University.

Flames could be seen shooting from the building as smoke billowed into the air.

The McCandless Community Association and North Hills Community Outreach will be accepting donations to the NHCO disaster relief fund for fire victims from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at McCandless Town Hall.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .


1003357_web1_ptr-durhamcourtfire02-0411197
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Firefighters from Highland Fire Department fight a fire in apartment buildings at Durham Court Apartments on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in McCandless.
1003357_web1_ptr-durhamcourtfire04-0411197
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Austin Bennati (right) and his girlfriend, Tara Gillespie, can only watch after saving their bird from a fire at Durham Court Apartments on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 in McCandless.
1003357_web1_ptr-durhamcourtfire05-0411197
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Residents can only watch as a fire ravages apartments at Durham Court Apartments burn Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in McCandless.
1003357_web1_ptr-durhamcourtfire03-0411197
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Firefighters from Highland Fire Department start to fight a fire Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Durham Court Apartments in McCandless.
1003357_web1_ptr-durhamcourtfire01-0411197
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Firefighters from Highland Fire Department ready to fight a fire in apartment buildings at Durham Court Apartments on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in McCandless.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire02-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire01-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire03-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire06-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire05-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire07-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire04-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_PTR-babcockfire08-041019
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to quell the flames of a 4-alarm fire on Babcock Boulevard in McCandless on April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_Screen-Shot-2019-04-10-at-10.39.59-AM
Stephen Banfield via Twitter
A fire engulfed an apartment building in McCandless on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_Screen-Shot-2019-04-10-at-10.27.09-AM
Stephen Banfield via Twitter
A fire engulfed an apartment building in McCandless on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
1003357_web1_nj-mccandlessfire-041110
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
A fire engulfed a McCandless apartment building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 A fire engulfed a McCandless apartment building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019
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.