4 children, father killed in Westmoreland County house fire

JEANNETTE, Pa. — The tight-knit community of Jeannette is grief-stricken after a fire killed a young father and four of his six children overnight Wednesday.

“My heart sank. I was sick,” said Christina Kjarval. She lives a few houses behind the home on Guy Street.

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“It was so hot,” Kjarval said. “The sparks were going way above the neighborhood. The wind was carrying them. The house was fully engulfed. The flames were reaching higher than the second story.”

Westmoreland County Coroner Tim Carson said Tyler King, 27, Kyson John, 7, Kinzleigh John, 6, Keagan John, 3, and Korbyn John, 1-month, were all killed.


The mother and two other children were taken to the hospital but survived.

“I’m crying,” Kjarval said. “I’ve been crying.”

Another neighbor helped get two of those kids and their mom to safety.

“We got the first baby brought her down she wasn’t really breathing shook her a little bit...they took her and they life-flighted her,” said Jake Mull.

Firefighters told Channel 11 Morning News they ran into issues with water from a hydrant. Kjarval said she heard firefighters’ frustrations and felt the second home could have been saved if the water worked.

“You could hear them agitated where I was,” Kjarval said. “I had my window open and you could hear them shouting, you could hear their agitation. There was no water. It’s terrifying. It’s absolutely terrifying because it was so obviously needed. I don’t know if the fire hydrant was inadequate or not working at all I don’t know, but there could have been a difference here.”

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County tells Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek they are in charge of the water for the hydrants in Jeannette. They said to their knowledge they work properly and are regularly maintained. These hydrants, according to MAWC, were last checked six to eight months ago. They said there could be a lot of circumstances that led to a water problem.

Kjarval said her heart aches for the families.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Kjarval said. “There aren’t words.”

The ATF’s fire investigators are assisting state police and Jeannette Police in this investigation. We’re still working to learn how this fire started.

Jeannette City School District Superintendent Matthew Jones sent the following letter to the community following the tragic fire:

Letter to the Community from Jeannette City School District by WPXI on Scribd

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