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Early morning fire rips through 5 buildings in McKeesport

Early morning fire destroys 5 buildings in McKeesport
Early morning fire destroys 5 buildings in McKeesport 02:39

McKEESPORT, Pa. (KDKA) -- McKeesport officials believe a fire that tore through five vacant homes Sunday morning is suspicious.

Mae Hudson was at work when she got a call from her brother that five buildings went up in flames around the corner from her home.

"I was devastated. I was upset. I was annoyed," Hudson said.

As she looked at what was left of them, those emotions were still fresh.

"It's very frustrating," Hudson said.

Crews got called to Federal by Jenny Lind around 2 a.m. for a house fire.

Deputy Fire Chief John Munsie said when they arrived, the initial home was fully involved, and the fire was starting to spread to the three neighboring homes and a carriage house of one of them.

The initial house collapsed shortly after they got there, and firefighters were able to control the flames in about an hour and a half.

All were vacant, and thankfully, no one got hurt. They also were condemned, except for the structure with the carriage house, which is under renovation.

"It's awful how we have to live like this and don't have any control," Hudson said.

Hudson said these are not the only condemned homes in the neighborhood. She's lived there for 50 years and said she's called the city multiple times about them.

"They tell me all the time, 'It's on the list, it's on the list.' Well, what year? When is it coming down?" Hudson said.

KDKA-TV reached out to Mayor Michael Cherepko's office for comment. His assistant responded by saying since 2018, they've demolished about 600 abandoned structures, that it's a continued effort, and each one costs $10,000 or more.

On Federal Street, she released the following statement:

We have been able to tear down several homes on Federal (including an entire dilapidated block) as part of our McKeesport Rising initiative. There are several others on Federal that are condemned and some that have made it onto further contracts for upcoming demolition.

As for Hudson, she's concerned, it's only going to get worse.

"No telling what's next," Hudson said.

It's unclear how the fire started. The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating.

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