4 hurt, dozens rescued from burning Garfield apartment building



PITTSBURGH - Four people were injured in a fire at a Garfield apartment building Monday morning.

Firefighters said the blaze was reported at a building on North Negley Street just after 7 a.m.

According to emergency officials at the scene, dozens of people and animals were rescued from the windows.

"We had our heads dangling out of the window. We just kept signaling people to make sure they knew that we were there," said Aaron Patterson.

"I called 911 and they didn't have any report of it.  I called it in and said, ‘You guys need to get here quick because I'm stuck in here and this smoke is bad,’" said Mike Dodds. "I thought I was maybe going to have to jump and take my chances because I was really scared. I didn't know how I was going to get out of there."

Officials said residents who live on the second and third floors were unable to get out because of intense smoke.

"The fire had blocked the stairwell and residents could not escape. There were massive evacuations by ladder by our firefighters," Pittsburgh fire Chief Darryl Jones said.

Dozens of firefighters from across the city of Pittsburgh assisted in rescuing people with ladders.

"We ran to the closest window and we was hanging out the window because the smoke was all in the room and we couldn’t breathe. That's when they had the ladder come up to the third floor and brought us down," Everette Middlebrook said.

In addition to the four people taken to area hospitals, 24 others were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene. Jones said firefighters saved many lives.

"Because of their efforts, this could have been a tragedy of enormous proportions. They rescued at least two dozen people by ladder," Jones said.

Residents said the firefighters even put in the extra effort to save people's pets.

"Firefighters did a good job. They brought out a cat and put the oxygen mask on it. They are pretty amazing," said Patterson.

The building suffered major damage in the blaze. So far, there is no word on what caused the fire.