People rescued as massive fire tears through apartments

Investigators digging into what started massive fire that left nearly 30 people homeless

McCANDLESS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A large fire burned through a 30-unit apartment building in McCandless Township Wednesday morning.

Flames shot through the roof of the Durham Court apartments off Babcock Boulevard as smoke billowed into the sky. Officials said the fire started in the upper-level of the building and spread to the attic.

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The fire was reported about 9:30 a.m. and quickly tore through the building. Video from Chopper 11 shows the roof collapsed and the inside of the building destroyed.

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Babcock Boulevard is blocked off in the area of the apartment complex.

Firefighters rescued a woman from the building shortly after Channel 11 News arrived on the scene. In all, four people needed to be rescued, officials said.

One firefighter suffered a hand injury, and one person was taken to a hospital for observation, officials said.

Katie Seekford, a woman who lived in the building, said there were smoke detectors, but she did not hear them go off.

“I smelled smoke, opened my eyes and hoped I was dreaming. My entire bedroom was engulfed in smoke,” Seekford said.

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Another resident told Channel 11 News a quick alarm sound was heard, but it stopped right away.

A township fire marshal official said the building did not have sprinklers because it was built before they were required.

The Red Cross is providing assistance to residents of the apartment building.

Some residents were allowed back in to collect what belongings they could Thursday afternoon.