Fire destroys 3-story Penn Hills apartment building, 60 residents left without a home

PITTSBURGH — Fire crews battled a fire for hours overnight in the bitter cold at Rodi Arms Apartments.

The three-story building is completely destroyed.

Penn Hills Chief Fire Marshal Chuck Miller said crews initially responded to a kitchen fire in a second floor apartment, just after midnight. Police evacuated the building, forcing residents out into frigid temperatures. After extinguishing the fire and inspecting the structure, fire crews started to clear the scene.

Just minutes later, flames were spotted in the roof and spread quickly in the attic.

“When crews came back, they were met with significant amount of fire,” Miller said. “Temperatures continued to drop throughout the night.”

As crews returned to put out the blaze that made its way through voided space, a Port Authority bus was brought in as a temporary warming shelter for tenants. The power was shut off in the neighborhood because of the fire, so another warming center had also been set up at the Penn Hills Senior Center.

“911 center started getting overwhelmed with phone calls from Penn Hills residents that were affected by the power outage, saying their house is extremely cold.” Miller explained.

Miller says no residents were injured, but one firefighter was treated for dehydration. The cold also damaged some equipment.

At least 60 people are now without a home.

Channel 11 talked with Mayor Pauline Calabrese, who was on the scene.

“We are just so grateful for our firefighters, for our EMS department and for our neighboring fire departments who came to help,” Calabrese said.

The Red Cross has helped 58 people after the fire.