Fire damages apartment building in Arnold

072114-arnold-house-fireBy Braden Ashe – photo by Dan Speicher / Tribune-Review

Firefighters spent more than two hours Sunday morning extinguishing an apartment building fire at Drey Street and Kenneth Avenue in Arnold.

Arnold fire Chief J.C. Tedorski said crews responded about 6 a.m. to a report of a first-floor fire in the two-story building. When they arrived, he said, a “heavy amount of flames” was showing from a first-floor window and spreading through the second story to the roof.

Tenants in all four of the brick building’s apartments were home when the fire started but safely evacuated without injury, according to Tedorski.

Arnold, New Kensington and Lower Burrell firefighters began immediately combating the first-story flames before turning their attention to the roof, where the fire was spreading rapidly.

“Once the fire got in between the ceiling and the roof, it ran through the whole area,” Tedorski said. “It’s an old building — really well constructed — so there was a lot of heavy, hard work being done to break through the ceiling from the interior to take care of the hot spots up there.”

West Penn Power crews responded about 45 minutes into the call to de-energize a power line to the house that was raining sparks on the firefighters below.

“They were able to cut it down without interrupting power to any of the other houses, but there were some intense moments as the wire was melting,” Tedorski said. “It was burning off the side of the house and sparking. It could have posed a real problem.”

The fire was under control within two hours and declared out about 8:30 a.m., Tedorski said.

Each of the building’s four apartments had either water, smoke or fire damage. The roof was destroyed.

The American Red Cross was assisting the property’s tenants and owners, the identify of whom was unknown.

A fire marshal from the Greensburg state police barracks is investigating the cause. No one in the department was available for comment.

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