Drive down Dickens Street in Crafton Heights and you can still smell the smoke in the air. As Joe Lobianco looks at his charred home, he thinks back to Friday night.
“I started choking, coughing and feel myself starting to black out, and I even had the thought, ‘this is it. I am going to die here,’” Lobianco said.
He said in that moment he found the front door, only to tumble down the outside steps through his brick retaining wall. He was bleeding from his head as he was rushed to the hospital.
“They put me in a medically induced coma. I had severe burns to the inside of my lungs from smoke inhalation. I was on a ventilator for two days,” Lobianco said.
After surviving it all, he was released to come home to find a letter from the City of Pittsburgh.
“I opened it and it’s a citation for a code violation for the appearance of my property, saying I have 30 days to fix the appearance of my house. I don’t even have words for that,” Lobianco said.
If he doesn’t fix it in 30 days, he will face numerous fines from the city, while the city told Channel 11 it’s a formality in the city code, and they will work with the homeowner in situations like this. Lobianco said it’s all in poor taste.
“How could that possibly be the response when something like this happens to their residents?,” Lobianco said.
He believes the city should show compassion and change the policy to reflect a little more heart.
“Stuff like this happens every day. You never know what’s going to happen. You should be able to rely on your city officials that they will have your back in something like this and not just go right to money,” Lobianco said.
Lobianco told Channel 11 he will rebuild, but it will take at least eight months. As for his citation, he plans to go through the proper channels to work it out and discuss making changes for the future.
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