Fire Forces Evacuations At Pa. High Rise

BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. --

Investigators said Monday that one woman was burned and a firefighter treated for smoke inhalation after a fire at a Bridgeville assisted living center.

What made the fire a bigger concern was that the residents had to take the stairs to get out of the Bridgeville Towers. Some had to walk down from the 11th floor, and many of them had difficulties getting around without a wheelchair. "In a high-rise building, elevators usually come down to the 1st floor so firefighters can get in to rescue people. They did a great job of getting people out of the stairwells," said Don Brucker, deputy chief fire marshal.

The senior living center has more than 100 apartments. Betty Crane has lived there for 20 years, but never had to evacuate for a fire. "They banged on the door and told us all to get out. They told us it was a fire, meaning not just smoke but a fire," said Crane.

Investigators said the flames were contained to a fourth-floor apartment.

Dozens of elderly residents were left waiting outside while firefighters responded.

Two Port Authority buses were brought in, so residents had a place to stay warm and a place to sit.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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