The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of an early-morning fire Sunday that destroyed a one-story residence in .
said the fire at 313 Sewickley Ridge Drive is believed to have been caused by a fireplace, but the investigation continues.
Firefighters responded at 3:30 a.m. to the home in Sewickley Heights Manor and arrived to find the entire attic space and roof fully engulfed in flames. The fire could be seen from miles away, with flames shooting 25 to 30 feet above the house, Davis said.
“When I got here the whole roof was completely on fire, but the first floor, I could see right in the front door. There was no smoke, no fire or anything on the first floor,” Davis said.
Davis did not know the homeowner’s name, but he said a male sleeping inside the home at the time of the fire got out safely before firefighters arrived. A light fixture that fell out of the ceiling in the dining room roused the man from his sleep, he said.
It was only after the noise of the falling light fixture woke him that the smoke alarms began to go off.
“Once that woke him up, he got up to see what was going on and another light fixture fell out of the ceiling," the chief said. "He saw a reflection, then he came outside and saw the roof on fire.”
A neighbor called 911. Tt took firefighters about 90 minutes to douse the flames, Davis said.
Next-door neighbor Debbie Tranter said she woke up to the sound of popping and saw a bright light. When she went to her front window to look outside, she said it was so light outside it appeared as if there was a dusting of snow. She said she soon realized it was ash from a fire.
“I put the blind up in the bedroom and I just screamed because the flame that was coming...I said to Bill, our roof is going to be on fire, our roof is going to be on fire,” said Tranter, who is celebrating a birthday today.
“I was convinced I was going to start seeing a little smoke on our roof,” Bill Tranter said.
Two windows on the Tranters' house blew out from the intense heat, but the fire did not spread to the neighboring homes.
Firefighters from Ohio Township, Emsworth and Ben Avon assisted, along with Valley Ambulance Authority. Another medic unit set up a rehabilitation station to check responders’ vitals.
Davis said an Ohio Township firefighter suffered an elevated heart rate due to a cold medication and was treated at . The residents were staying with neighbors Sunday.