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Duplex destroyed, firefighter injured after massive blaze in Tarentum

TARENTUM, Pa. — A firefighter was injured and a duplex was destroyed in a fire in Tarentum on Monday afternoon.

The fire happened in the 200 block of West 11th Avenue.

PHOTOS >> Crews battling massive house fire in Tarentum

Wayne Ponce lives right next door to where a fire was burning through a duplex on 11th street. As quickly as firefighters were working to put out the flames and smoke, their attention quickly shifted when they heard a firefighter with Highland Hose Company scream in pain.

“He couldn’t get his leg out, and then being up on the ladder there’s no room and you can’t get six guys up in there,” Ponce said.

Another neighbor who watched it all unfold from her porch said the ladder started to move when a chimney started to collapse from the flames and smoke. The firefighter who was spraying water on it from the ladder above, screamed in pain. His foot became trapped in the rungs of the ladder.

Channel 11 saw crews use technical rescue tools to cut the rungs of the ladder, finally freeing him after almost two hours using the jaws of life. They slid him down the ladder and transported him to a hospital with a broken foot.

“All the kids were up in the back bedroom, I got them all out. I had to grab my 1-year-old, said Joe Canonico, who lived in the home.

When Canonico realized his home was on fire, his first instinct was to make sure all of his five kids were safe.

One of his kids is just a baby, and another is a cancer patient.

“That’s all that matters. That we are here. Everything else can be replaced. It’s going to take a while,” Canonico said.

He told Channel 11 he and his family have nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“We lost everything. My daughter don’t have nothing. My son has nothing .We have nothing. My youngest my one year old -- nothing. We lost everything,” Canonico said.

Crews used an excavator to tear down the rest of the home after firefighters worked to put out all the flames.

Canonico had this message for the firefighter who was injured trying to put out the fire at his home.

“I wish him the best. Thank you very much for helping. I owe all these firefighters. If I had something I’d give it to them,” Canonico said.

The fire marshal is working to determine how the fire started.