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Upper Hill Church Offers Love, Support To Families Displaced By Fire

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UPPER HILL (KDKA) -- Several families who lived in an apartment building that went up in flames Saturday night are getting love and support from their neighbors.

Flames filled the sky in the Upper Hill District on Saturday night as a four-story apartment building in the 3300 block of Iowa Street went up in flames.

One firefighter was injured, and 28 people, including 17 children, were left with nowhere to go.

By sunrise Sunday, investigators returned to look for a cause while the displaced residents tried to figure out what comes next.

"Somebody gave me their shoes off their feet because I didn't have on any," one fire victim said. "We lost everything, pretty much."

Just across the street from the charred rubble of the building stands Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, a part of the Hill District community for nearly 150 years. The church wanted its neighbors to know they were not alone.

"We're going to the Father like we always do, but I'm going to go outside," Rev. Gavin Walton said. "We're going to face that building because we need to see the brokenness of the world. We need to see the sorrow, the cause of suffering in the world."

After opening the doors of the church Saturday night to give people a place to come in from the cold, on Sunday, the members of the church formed a circle in the street to show those victims they weren't alone and their neighbors and the church were there for love and support.

For now, with assistance from the Red Cross and Salvation Army, those displaced by the fire can find food, clothing and solace inside the church. Right now, they may feel as if they don't know what's coming next, but they do know they're not alone on their journey.

"The community was there for us. It was really big to see the community just be there for us like this," a fire victim said.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire, and it's not yet clear if the building will be a total loss.

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