Neighbors work together to catch people jumping from burning apartment building in McKeesport

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Crews battled a three-alarm fire at an apartment building in McKeesport. The fire was reported in the 1000 block of Hartman Street.

Channel 11 spoke with one woman who said she was cleaning her apartment when the smoke detector went off.

“Whenever I opened the door, I just saw black smoke everywhere,” explained Ines Menguieng.

Menguieng, who lives on the first floor of the four-story apartment building, said smoke quickly filled the hallways on Wednesday afternoon — and that by the time the fire alarm went off, she was unable to get out.

“The only way I could was to jump out of the window,” Menguieng said.

So, she busted through the window screen and jumped.

“I start screaming help, help, and I was calling 911 — it was busy,” Menguieng continued.

Menguieng said she was able to wake some of her neighbors, some of whom also jumped out of their windows.

She showed us on her phone what the apartment building looked like as she and her neighbors jumped to safety.

“There were about three to four of us where the ladder is at, yelling, ‘Don’t jump, wait for the ladder to get up there!’”

Tony Oto and several other neighbors put their arms together to catch people jumping from their windows.

“A guy and his little girl maybe 3-4 years old … dropped her down — we got her out,” Oto said.

Menguieng also showed us some of the damage inside the building’s laundry room, where storage units were destroyed and walls were blackened by smoke.

“It’s hard because I wasn’t expecting something like this to happen, so it’s going to be hard,” she said.

Menguieng and her teen brother lived in the apartment, and she said they have no other family in the U.S. Now, the siblings aren’t sure what their next steps will be.

“We are willing to accept any type of help, prayers too. We thank God that nobody died,” Menguieng said.

The Red Cross is serving 10 adults and two children following the fire.

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