A father and his two daughters were outside on the front porch of their New Kensington home when they heard smoke alarms going off inside at 5 p.m. Sunday.
“We were playing Legos, and the girls decided to go to the back porch. That’s when I heard the alarms,” city Councilman Dante Cicconi said. “At first, I thought it was at someone else’s house.”
He was able to get the girls away from the fire and then called 911.
Firefighters arrived at the house in the 300 block of Riverview Drive to find fire and thick, black smoke in the kitchen, with flames reaching up to the second floor.
New Kensington Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Davis said the house sustained heavy damage but was not destroyed.
Davis said the fire started in the kitchen, apparently accidentally.
Cicconi said his house is insured.
While some firefighters fought the fire from inside the kitchen, others pulled out siding to reach the fire from outside.
Volunteer firefighters from New Kensington, Arnold and Lower Burrell took turns inside the house while volunteers outside made sure they would not overheat on a 90-degree day.
It took the 75 firefighters in alternating crews until about 6:30 to put out the blaze and then check for smoldering.
Crews had to stretch 5-inch lines from a hydrant at Center Avenue about 800 feet away and another about 300 feet from a hydrant down the street.