WARREN - By the time Jasmine Bruner reached the scorched home on Austin Avenue N.W. Friday, Don Walters and his heavy equipment already had razed the house - a deadly scene where four people perished in a fire March 3.
Stuffed animals are still piled up as a memorial around the trunk of a tree on the curb lawn.
''I saw the truck here the other day and figured it was coming down,'' said Bruner of Warren, who stood by her car in the street just looking at the debris where her aunt and two cousins once lived.
Don Walters of Walters Paving of Warren uses an excavator to remove debris after taking down the house on Austin Avenue N.W., Warren. A fire at the house in March killed four people.
''It's still hard to believe,'' she said.
Edtawn L. Kimble, 32, his girlfriend Yolanda D. Holmes, 38, and two of Holmes' children, Mari'Auna Holmes, 13, and Marniece Holmes, 9, were killed at the 160 Austin address where it's believed unattended cooking equipment or an electrical short in the kitchen touched off a blaze that was fueled by high winds.
All four died of smoke inhalation.
The fire was the second deadliest in the city's history. The deadliest, on June 16, 2011, killed six people at 911 Landsdowne Ave. N.W. That home was demolished earlier in the year.
Neither home contained a working smoke alarm.
Walters, owner of Walters Paving on North River Road, said the Austin site came down quickly. But he pointed out heavy beams that supported the structure until flames ate away at it.
Walters bid on the demolition and won the job for $3,600.
He said the city declared the job as an emergency, like another job that's being bid out at 474 Washington St. N.E., which also was damaged heavily by flames.
''These homes could collapse on kids. Someone could get hurt,'' fire Chief Ken Nussle said, explaining that the emergency demolitions are not among those on the continuing list of vacant houses that the city keeps adding to.
The chief said after the intentionally set fire on Washington, the city had difficulty finding the owner.
''We have to stay on top of it,'' Nussle said.