PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Fire Department was called late last night to a three-alarm blaze on Atwood Street that, according to onlookers, “greatly improved at least three of the buildings.”

While the South Oakland inferno itself enveloped a swath containing only those three buildings, reports indicate that several adjacent structures also received partial upgrades from smoke damage.

Said the landlord of one of the scorched piles of rubble, “You smell that? Wafting in the air? Breathe it in. That’s the smell of rent doubling.”

As he reached a hand into the charred remains and pulled out a blackened, crumbling knob, the landlord added, “I mean just look at this; the front door hasn’t opened this smoothly since ’73.”

At press time, the Red Cross was continuing to assist dozens of people whose homes weren’t affected by the fire.

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