5 dead in fire at Pennsylvania duplex
ALTOONA, Pa. — The worst fire in this central Pennsylvania city since the 1970s tore through a second-floor apartment and killed five people early yesterday, producing flames visible across the city, officials said.
The victims died of smoke inhalation, Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross said.
Her office identified them as: 57-year-old Thomas Boyles, 40-year-old Baron Richard Snyder Sr., 23-year-old Christopher Alvord, 35-year-old Warren Arthur Carter Jr., and 17-year-old Joey Allen Middaugh.
Officials say all the victims except Middaugh lived on the second floor of the two-story duplex.
The red brick building was fully in flames when firefighters arrived from a station about two blocks away about 6:45 a.m., said Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hileman. The cause is under investigation.
Three people escaped from the first floor, where smoke alarms had sounded. The building passed code inspection two months ago and had smoke detectors, but it was unclear whether they were working on the second floor at the time of the fire, Hileman said.
“This is one the most tragic fire events in my career in the city,’’ said Hileman, a 13-year Altoona veteran.
It took about an hour for 30 firefighters to get the blaze under control. Police would not say whether the fire was suspicious but are treating the building as a crime scene.