Hours Away From Being Evicted
A RECLUSIVE PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, MAN who was scheduled to be evicted from his apartment Thursday foiled the sheriff by blowing up his unit early in the morning. Mark Williams, 60, was found dead in his 5th-floor apartment after the blast shook the entire 9-story building and started a fire that extended into other units and filled the entire building with thick smoke.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:
Investigators believe Williams uncapped the gas line to his stove, causing an explosion about 7:15 a.m. when the fumes reached an ignition source, such as a space heater or other appliance, fire Chief Darryl Jones said.
"I woke when I heard an explosion that shook the walls," said Tom Korpar, 24, a second-year dental student at the University of Pittsburgh. "My kitchen wall, which shared his kitchen wall, was blown in. I could see right into his kitchen. I guess I was lucky. I slept in today, otherwise I would have been right there in the kitchen, cooking eggs."
The blast cracked an exterior wall of the building, but an engineer said the damage was cosmetic, Jones said. The fire and blast damaged 126 of the complex's 191 units.
Williams, who was described by his neighbors as, "reclusive," "hard to know," and "troubled" had been involved in a 15-year legal battle with his homeowners association of his refusal to pay his condo fees. After the dues and interest grew to an outlandish total, the HA was able to get a judge to order a sheriff's sale of the unit and Williams was scheduled to be evicted Thursday.
The Tribune-Review has the details HERE.
The nature of the call and the occupancy led to a quick elevation of the dispatch to 7 alarms as firefighters scrambled to get to the approx. 200 occupants still inside with the building filled with smoke.
KDKA-TV filed this video report:
Williams was the only fatality and the only injuries reported were for a few people affected by smoke inhalation.
Hat tip: Mark Donovan.
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