Tiffany Lott stood on Tarentum’s Lock Street on Monday afternoon, a blanket draped over her, as smoke billowed from her home and firefighters pumped it full of water.
A fire Lott said had started in her home had spread to another beside it, ultimately destroying both.
“I am OK,” she said. “What am I going to do? I can’t do anything about it but stand here and cry.”
The fire in the 200 block of Lock Street was first reported around 1:45 p.m., an Allegheny County emergency dispatcher said.
It went to three alarms and took firefighters more than an hour to bring under control, Eureka deputy fire Chief Brad James said. Volunteer firefighters from Tarentum, Harrison and Brackenridge responded.
James said firefighters had to contend with the cold weather, and how close the buildings stood to each other.
No one was in either house at the time of the fire. Both contained pets, and it was not immediately clear whether some may have been lost.
While no civilians were hurt, James said a firefighter was stable after suffering a medical emergency. He would not say to which department the firefighter belonged.
The Allegheny County Fire Marshal will investigate the cause of the fire, James said.
The houses were across from the Tarena Roller Rink, and not far from Eureka’s fire hall and ambulance garage.
A bystander’s video showed intense flames at the back of Lott’s house.
The fire destroyed both wood-frame homes, burning the back off of Lott’s house and leaving a gaping hole in the roof of Danielle Taylor’s next to it. A third brick house on the other side of Lott’s, said to have been vacant for 10 years, was full of smoke and had a hole in its roof.
Lott said she called the house home for 17 years and lived there with her husband, two young sons and father. She was at work at Dynamite Daycare in the borough when, from an app on her phone, she heard the call for a fire at an address near hers, only to find out the house ablaze was her own.
Her home had been her grandparents’, and her grandfather had been a firefighter with Eureka for 65 years, she said. Lott said she saw flames shooting out a bathroom window at one point.
“I don’t know how it started,” she said.
Lott said they had two dogs and a cat.
Lott said her family was insured, and they had many places to choose from to stay.
Taylor said she and her three daughters, ages 11, 18, and 22, were across the Tarentum Bridge when the fire began. At one time, she was in the Eureka ambulance garage across the street tending to her two dogs, trying to cover their kennels with blankets to calm them.
Taylor said they also had four cats, but she did not know here they were.
Taylor said they had lived in the 10-bedroom house for two years. She had no insurance, and nowhere to stay with no family in the area.
“What we have on us is what we have on us,” she said. “I’m trying to stay as calm as I can now.”
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