On Saturday, March 10, 2012 at approximately 10:17am Allegheny County 9-1-1 received multiple calls reporting a structure fire in the 600-block of Tripoli Street in the Allegheny East section of Pittsburgh. The following units were dispatched on the initial assignment; 32 Engine, 37 Engine, 3 Engine, 32 Truck, 4011 (District Chief), 38 Engine (Go Team), MAC 1 (mobile cascade unit) and 4014 (Safety Chief). While responding from a distance, 4011 reported a large column of black smoke and requested that the 1st alarm transfers be put in effect. Battalion Chief Doug Praskovich arrived on the scene arrived on the scene within 3 minutes and assumed Tripoli Street command, reporting at least two 3-story structures with very heavy fire conditions, with several immediate exposure problems.
The crew from 37 Engine advanced an attack line into the exposure building. Command requested a 2nd alarm at 10:24am. The following units were dispatched on the 2nd alarm, 4 Engine, 30 Engine, 4 Truck and 401 (Deputy Chief Dan Hennessy). The Crew from 3 Engine had exterior attack lines trained on the main fire building. 32 Truck crew went to the roof of the exposure building and achieved a successful trench cut preventing the fire from further spreading to the exposure buildings. At approximately 10:30am command reported a collapse of roof and upper floors of the original fire building and requested the go team report to command immediately. The crew from 4 Engine now became the 2nd go team, backing up 38 Engine crew.
Moments after the collapse command requested that a collapse zone be established on the Alpha, Charlie and Delta sides of the main fire buildings. Deputy Chief Hennessy arrived on the scene and assumed Tripoli Street command and Battalion Chief Praskovich became in charge of operations. After assuming command, Deputy Hennessy requested a 3rd alarm. The following units were dispatched on the 3rd alarm; 6 Engine, 27 Engine and 6 Truck. 7 Engine was added to the 3rd alarm as an additional go team as 38 Engine and 4 Engine crews were already committed.
6 Engine took the hydrant at Thropp/East as an additional water supply and supplied 4 Truck on the Charlie side of the structures. At approximately 10:42am the go team was deployed to the 3rd floor of the exposure to assist a firefighter who encountered a problem and they safely evacuated him from the structure. At one point foam was used in suppression efforts early on in the fire. Due to additional collapses of the main fire building and exposure building, those two structures were defensive only with several hand lines in operation in addition to the two master streams. Crews still entered the additional exposures to check for extension.
By approximately 11:05am, crews had the main body of fire knocked down on the Alpha side; however they still had heavy fire on the Charlie side. Command placed the fire under control at 11:21am; however crews remained on the scene for an extended period of time extinguishing numerous hot spots within the structures and collapsed debris. The City of Pittsburgh Arson investigators were called to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire. One firefighter from 37 Engine was treated for burns to the neck. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist displaced residents with food, clothing and temporary housing. The Salvation Army mobile canteen unit was also at the scene providing hot/cold drinks and food to the emergency personnel.