Man who jumped from apartment building to escape a fire recounts experience, shares updates

It’s been almost two months since a McKeesport apartment building went up in flames, forcing some tenants to jump from the building to safety.

A broken second-floor window is where Jose Diaz jumped from -- now he is talking for the first time about the life-changing ordeal.

“When I opened the door to try to get out there was already a big cloud of smoke,” Diaz said.

Diaz said on the afternoon of December 7th he heard a commotion outside. When he looked out his window, he saw the smoke and heard his neighbors scream, “fire.” He was unable to go out the front door so he was forced to jump from his second-floor apartment.

“As soon as I jumped, I leaned, I could feel that it was broken, and I couldn’t even move,” Diaz said.

Diaz broke his ankle and the bottom of his heel. He’s gone through multiple surgeries and doctors say he will likely not walk on his own for another year.

“I can’t do anything, I can do my things in my apartment by myself, but I am not able to work or anything,” Diaz said.

Unable to work, Diaz said he has been worried about the apartment building. For weeks signs had been posted that the building was condemned, but he and many other tenants remained until last night when they were told to leave on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

“It’s like you are living in a place that you don’t know when they can take you out, it’s crazy, and it’s winter,” Diaz said.

Searching for answers Channel 11 News called the mayor’s office who shared that the building hadn’t passed inspection until this morning, so tenants like Diaz shouldn’t have been living there.

The city has confirmed that tenants can now safely move back in.

Diaz said he is relieved, but still feels uneasy.

“She doesn’t say what’s going on so that is a big issue,” Diaz said.

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