‘Spry’ 93-year-old woman dies in Forest Hills fire
A 93-year-old woman — described by friends and relatives as spry, mobile and fiercely independent — died Wednesday when flames engulfed the kitchen of her home in Forest Hills.
Rose Lindt died in the fast-moving fire on Lenox Avenue that erupted about 2:20 p.m. somewhere on or around the stove, said Allegheny County Fire Marshal Robert Full.
The cause remains under investigation, but Forest Hills fire Chief Ray Heller said it appears the fire started while Lindt was cooking.
“She was a very, very healthy lady,” said her nephew, John Morenzi, who is Turtle Creek’s fire marshal. He said his aunt often walked the hilly streets to make mile-long round trips to the store.
“She’s been a widow for a good many years. She lived alone. She walked everywhere. She did her own housework, her own cooking,” said Morenzi, adding that Lindt refused repeated requests by her son, Bill, to move into his home in State College.
Her mobility was one reason firefighters weren’t sure Lindt was trapped inside the home, Heller said.
“We were told she could have been in there. She was known to go out and walk around,” he said.
When the first firefighters arrived, Heller said he saw “four-foot flames shooting out the kitchen windows.”
A Forest Hills volunteer firefighter who lives nearby tried to get inside but was forced back by the intense flames, Heller said.
Search-and-rescue teams didn’t immediately find Lindt.
“We searched the whole house three times,” Heller said. “It wasn’t until we knocked down the fire that we found her buried in the rubble.”
Firefighters from Forest Hills, Wilkins, Churchill and Braddock Hills kept the flames from spreading beyond the kitchen, Heller said.
The outcome was especially hard on Full, who grew up in the neighborhood and was childhood friends with Bill Lindt.
“All I know is that she was a young 93-year-old. She just painted her house,” said Full, who remembers spending time as a boy at the Lindt home.
“I have a lot of fond memories of her. I used to hang out here all the time; we had sleepovers here. She was always very, very nice. She always had a plate of cookies for the kids in the neighborhood.”