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Sources: Rankin Fire Sparked By Smoker

The Red Cross says they are giving food and shelter to about a dozen people left homeless by a multi-alarm fire in Rankin.

The fire swept through a nine-unit row house complex on Mound Street – about a block from the Rankin Fire Station.

Sources indicate the fire was caused by one of the tenants smoking carelessly.

Derek Thomas, a tenant, was coming home from work on the bus when he got calls about the fire on his cell phone.

He has lived there for 14 years and now has lost everything. Thomas told KDKA-TV he was glad no tenants were hurt.

Another tenant, Lonelle Horton, said he smelled smoke when he opened his door and saw flames shooting from a roof.

Before he knew it, flames had spread across half the block.

Allegheny County Fire Marshal Bob Full said the fire spread quickly because it's an old complex with a common roof and common porches.

Two firefighters from Swissvale were injured and taken to Mercy Hospital for burns, but they were not seriously injured.

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