Monday, May 15, 2017

1 woman dead after massive 7-alarm fire at the 17-story Midtown Towers in downtown Pittsburgh, PA

Update: Fire has restarted in pipe chase in Midtown Towers between 7-10th floor

Chief says woman who was inside room where was started has died

PITTSBURGH, PA - One person is dead after flames surged out of the windows of a Downtown high-rise apartment building this morning, forcing hundreds of people into the street early Monday morning.

Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones did not immediately identify the female victim. He said two firefighters sustained minor injuries.

Flames were shooting out of two windows in the 17-story Midtown Towers in the 600 block of Liberty Avenue, at the intersection with Seventh Street. Passersby called 911 at 3:02 a.m. after seeing those flames, Jones said.

The fire began on the sixth floor and moved to the seventh floor, said Pittsburgh public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler. Firefighters were moving through the building, which sustained heavy damage on those floors, for hours looking for residents who may not have evacuated.

More than 100 people were in the building, Jones said. One resident remained in the building receiving treatment as of 6 a.m., Jones said. Many evacuees have sheltered in the lobby of the K&L Gates building across Liberty Avenue.

The building did not have a sprinkler system, Jones said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Emergency vehicles lined both sides of Liberty Avenue, which is shut down between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

The fire has affected Port Authority of Allegheny County operations in the area. The Wood Street T station across the street from the scene was temporarily shut down but reopened at about 6:20 a.m. Bus routes have been detoured.