Pittsburgh (KDKA) 2-1-05-What started as a small fire at a duplex in Sharpsburg late this morning quickly burned out of control — sending some local firefighters to the hospital before crews could douse the flames.
Firefighters from several different companies spent hours trying to contain the blaze in the 13-hundred block of Main Street.
Sharpsburg Assistant Fire Chief Frank Bagnato tells KDKA it was a complicated fire to attack — with a double ceiling making it difficult for crews to tackle the flames.
While all the residents made it out of the apartments safely, six firefighters were injured.
A wall collapse sent one Aspinwall firefighter to UMPC Presbyterian; while five Etna volunteer firefighters injured in when a chimney collapsed were taken to Allegheny General Hospital.
Etna VFD Chief Chief Greg Porter says no one knew how unstable the structure was when a small group of firefighters went inside to attack on the flames. “You could see a considerable amount of fire. We’ve had ceilings collapse on us before where lath and ceiling board would come down — but never anything like this. “The chimney brought the entire ceiling structure — floor joists, roof members — everything came through the ceiling. So it was a very significant event and frightening.” — Chief Greg Porter, Etna Volunteer Fire Department. Four of the injured firefighters were treated and released from AGH, but two others remain hospitalized this afternoon. Meanwhile, the county fire marshal is still trying to figure out what started the fire.
THE INJURED FIREFIGHTERS:
1-FF- Injured when a ceiling collapsed
1-LT. – Injured when the Chimney fell through the roof striking him and carrying him through a staircase.
1-LT.- Treated for shortness of breath after escaping the ceiling collapse.
1-FF-Treated for minor burns from ceiling collapse.
1-FF- Treated for shortness of breath.
1-FF-Treated for shortness of breath after a ceiling collapse.
Firefighters were hampered extensively by multiple remodeling jobs on the structure including false ceilings and walls. RIT team from Station 191 extricated 1-LT but were greatly hindered by other firefighters on the scene who left firefighting duties to try to assist.