McKEESPORT, Pa. - A family has been left heartbroken after flames tore through a McKeesport home Saturday morning, leaving six loved ones dead and one hospitalized.
Emergency crews were called to the fire in the 300 block of Express Alley shortly before 7 a.m.
Chief Alvin Henderson, of the Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services, confirmed that four children and two adults, one man and one woman, died in the fire.
“When the fire, police and EMS arrived on scene, there was heavy fire already coming out of the windows and doors of the structure. They made their best attempt to try to get into the structure, but due to how rapidly involved the fire was, they were not able to successfully go in and actually perform a rescue,” said Henderson.
Family members and officials identified those killed in the fire as Hope Jordan, 27; and her four children, Dominic Jordan, 7; Autumn Jordan, 6; Serenity Jakub, 3; and Victoria Jordan, 2. Hope Jordan’s father-in-law, Ronald Egenlauf Sr., 55, who was wheelchair-bound, also died.
"Things were just finally turning good for them, and then you have this,” said Lisa Lakenan, Hope Jordan’s sister-in-law.
Joseph Jordan, Hope Jordan’s father, raced to McKeesport from his home in Johnstown after learning about the devastating fire.
“I just threw some clothes on and jumped in the car and thought I could say goodbye to my daughter before she passed away,” said Joseph Jordan. “Hope was a good mother.”
Initial reports of the fire indicated that one person was taken to a hospital. According to family members, Keith Egenlauf, Hope Jordan’s husband, suffered burns to more than 50 percent of his body. He was listed in critical condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital.
"He's sedated. Burned pretty bad,” said Laverne Egenlauf, wife of Ronald Egenlauf and mother of Keith Egenlauf.
Laverne Egenlauf said her son tried to save his father, Ronald Egenlauf.
"I feel like I’m in a bad nightmare, and I just want to wake up from it," she said.
Laverne Egenlauf said her son was planning on adopting the four children, and that he and her daughter-in-law would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary in December.
"They were gorgeous kids, gorgeous. And Dom was like a little man,” she said. "Autumn, I called her my little princess. I loved her so much."
DeAndre Jackson, who lives nearby, said, "I kept hearing someone screaming but I didn't know where it was coming from, and then I went to my window and the blinds were flashing, so I opened the blinds, and I saw the guy and I saw the whole house lit on fire, and then we just ran outside and called 911.”
“This is a big loss for the community and obviously for the family. Our hearts go out to them,” said Henderson.
A dog was also killed in the fire, the cause of which has yet to be determined.
Officials said the wood frame of the home, as well as a balloon-style construction, which allows for open air space in the wall joists from the basement to the roof, helped to fuel the flames that started on the first floor.
“When you couple that together with a windy day, it's basically the perfect recipe to feed that fire and let it grow exponentially, and it just increases in volume and size quite rapidly,” said Henderson.
"They wouldn't let me go near the house, but why do I want to go there? Daughter’s not there no more,” said Joseph Jordan.
"This is just so much to comprehend. You know, we’ve got six that are gone,” said Laverne Egenlauf. "We’re just trying to survive this the best we can."
Donations to help the family can be made HERE.