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Two firefighters hurt while fleeing blaze

| Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005

Two Wilkinsburg firemen suffered minor injuries Tuesday as they and two other firefighters were fleeing a burning duplex where a flashover had occurred.

Firefighters were able to rescue a dog from the first floor of the home in the 600 block of Princeton Boulevard, said Wilkinsburg fire Capt. Joseph Petersen.

No residents were home when the fire erupted about 2:30 p.m.

Firefighters were told the flames were on the second floor, so Petersen and three other firefighters went upstairs.

They did not realize that the flames had erupted in the basement, and they were trapped upstairs when the flashover occurred in the stairwell between the first and second floors, Petersen said.

A flashover occurs when enough heat and combustible gases build up in an area to ignite suddenly.

The four firefighters ran down the stairs and dove through first-floor windows to the ground, Petersen said.

Two firefighters were scorched by the flashover and injured falling through the windows. One was released after treatment at UPMC Shadyside hospital; the other was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Petersen did not identify the two injured firefighters.

After calling city of Pittsburgh firefighters for assistance, Petersen and others went back into the house and quickly extinguished the flames.

The fire was confined to one side of the duplex.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is trying to determine what caused the fire. Petersen said there is no preliminary indication that the origin is suspicious.

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