Residents of Harrison row houses destroyed by fire wonder what their next step will be
Harrison resident Michael Walker and his family spent Saturday morning looking for anything they could salvage from their home after it was destroyed in an early morning fire.
He was able to recover a few sentimental items that had somehow managed to come out unscathed, including an antique Bible and the urn containing his mother’s ashes.
“I lost everything,” Walker said. “I’ll just have to get back on my feet and move on.”
The fire was reported shortly before 4:30 a.m. on the first block of Linden, next to the Polish National Alliance club. The fire took nearly three hours to get under control.
No one was reported injured.
Township officials ordered an emergency demolition of the building, citing the scene as a public safety concern after bricks from the houses tumbled into the nearby alley.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Allegheny Countyfire marshal.
The fire spread to Walker’s home at 12 Linden St. after it started in the second flood of 16 Linden St.
The two homes were connected as a series of row houses. The other two houses at 10 and 14 Linden St. were vacant.
Kim Sydlik, who lives at 16 Linden St., said she woke up just before the fire started to take her dog outside. After she came inside she discovered the fire.
“I looked up the stairs and I saw smoke,” she said.
She ran upstairs to discover the fire in her bedroom. She tried throwing water on it, but it quickly escalated.
She woke up her father, who she cares for after he had a stroke 10 years ago, and got him out safely.
“The window popped and then we saw the flames get big,” she said of the scene outside the house.
After she realized the fire was likely going to spread, she ran down to Walker’s home and called for them to get out.
Walker and his wife, Teny Walker, made sure to get their children out of the house along with a cat and three dogs.
One cat, Scooby, was missing for the majority of the morning after the fire and they feared she may not have made it out.
But, what may have been the only happy part of a life-changing morning was finding Scooby. Although wet and clearly shaken up, she appeared to be all right.
“Mama’s going to be happy,” Walker said as he held Scooby in his arms.
Staff writer Patrick Varine contributed to this report.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @emilybalser.