Arson and homicide investigators were at the scene to determine the cause of the blaze that forced more than 100 residents to be evacuated from Midtown Towers, a 17-story building that houses apartments on its upper floors and a convenience store on its ground floor.
The fire was reported just after 3 a.m. in a sixth-floor unit. Residents above and below the sixth and seventh floors were told to shelter in place while crews evacuated those on the sixth and seventh floors, where the fire and smoke was the most immediate threat, Jones said. Residents on the other floors were later escorted from the building.
One firefighter was treated for breathing problems and chest pains and taken to UPMC Mercy hospital. His name and condition were not immediately released. Another firefighter and at least two residents were treated for smoke-related breathing problems at the scene, city Emergency Medical Services Chief Robert Farrow said.
A light-rail commuter train station across the street from the fire was temporarily closed due to the emergency response, and a street next to the high-rise was closed because of glass and other debris.
The American Red Cross was assisting the displaced residents, some of whom were taken to an office building nearby for warmth as overnight temperatures dropped to the mid-40s.
The building is older and wasn’t equipped with sprinklers, though fire alarms were installed and were working properly, Jones said.
Crews hoped to restore power to the building later Monday so that at least some residents could return.
Additional details about the female victim weren’t immediately available.