Local fire departments had busy night responding to calls after Wednesday’s storms

TARENTUM, Pa. — Local fire departments had a busy night responding to calls following Wednesday’s storms.

Eureka Fire-Rescue Station responded to 14 calls in 12 hours and then capped the shift off with a fire at a high-rise apartment building.

“Someone came banging on the door, and I smelled the smoke,” said Tori Stokes. “So I knew to get up, put on some clothes and just run for the stairs.”

Tori Stokes lives on the third floor where the fire started in another apartment at the Golden Towers on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. Firefighters moved up and down the stairs, floor by floor, to partially evacuate the building.

“Anything involving a fire after a series of storms that have gone through in the last 12 hours is a challenge,” said Eureka Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Brad James. “All the personnel are kind of beat.”

The storms blew through Tarentum around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Downed trees and wires plus vehicle accidents kept the calls coming. Firefighters also showed up to Sandstone Drive to check out reports that lightning hit two homes.

“All the companies in this area have been pretty much busy throughout all the storms with everything from wires down and chasing automatic fire alarms, power outages,” said James.

When firefighters got a break, they came back to a hot firehouse. The electricity was out for about nine hours, so they couldn’t cook, there was no air-conditioning, and they had to manually open the garage doors.

“Everyone was out all day,” said George Skurko. “Tarentum was having all kinds of problems.”

Firefighters even showed up to George Skurko’s house on Hazlet Avenue in Brackenridge after a huge tree fell onto his neighbor’s home.

“It was just amazing,” said Skurko. “The wind n’at. I was just in awe when that tree fell over. And I was hollering for my wife. Come. Quick! Once that wind caught it and took it, it was down in the matter of seconds.”

As for the fire at the Golden Towers, it’s still under investigation. No injuries were reported among residents or firefighters.