Updated: 11:07 p.m. Monday, June 9, 2014 | Posted: 8:39 p.m. Monday, June 9, 2014

Community comes together for Mt. Oliver fire victims

PITTSBURGH —

As firefighters returned to Mount Oliver Monday to put out hot spots from a fire that destroyed several homes over the weekend, the local community has come together to support the victims.

Investigators continue to search for the cause of a blaze that spread to nine homes on Ormsby Avenue Sunday.

The fast-moving flames destroyed five homes, damaged four others and displaced 50 people.

Resident Mary Embry said she has lived in the neighborhood for 38 years. She said this fire has forever changed the fabric of her area.

“I can actually see the park from my house, which I couldn’t before because it’s all gone. It’s all gone. It’s really sad,” Embry said.

The blaze was first reported Sunday afternoon. Nearly 100 firefighters were called in to battle flames that began on one side of the road, and jumped to the other side.

“We’re like a brotherhood and sisterhood. We work together to try to help out as best we can,” said Kelly Nort, of the Baldwin Independent Fire Department.

One elderly woman and a firefighter were hurt, but are both expected to be OK.

Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson said it’s too early to say what caused the fire.

“This one is going to take a while. With the number of residents and homes that are involved in this fire, that equates to a lot of interviews, and a scene that we must sift through painstakingly slow. It’s very methodical,” Henderson said.

Henderson said there were several factors that contributed to the fast-moving, destructive nature of the fire.

Several agencies are helping those who lost their homes. A temporary shelter has been set up at the Mount Oliver Fire Department as well. 

In addition, donations have poured in for the victims from all over Western Pennsylvania.

“People are caring and people are willing to help others. It just amazes me how generous people are,” Taniyah Price said.

Small victories like Eric Richtor’s family members finding one of their cats they feared was dead make the situation a little easier to deal with.

“We ended up going back to the rubble today and we pulled one of our cats out. He’s sitting over there in the car with my son now,” Richtor said.

Anyone interested in donating to the victims of the Mount Oliver fire, can drop donations off at the Potter’s House Ministries at 438 Ormsby Avenue between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Clothes, toys, toiletries and linens are all being accepted. 

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