MOUNT OLIVER (KDKA) – A building that used to be home for a church’s school and cafeteria was destroyed in a Wednesday morning fire.
According to officials at the scene, the three-alarm fire broke out shortly after 4 a.m. on Ormsby Avenue.
Flames could be seen shooting 60 feet into the air out of the old St. Joseph’s auditorium and cafeteria. Heat vortexes formed as a result of the intense flames.
“The first companies arrived to find the fire showing inside. The initially tried an interior attack, but quickly realized the fire had extended and gone too far. We switched to an exterior attack,” Pittsburgh Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Mullen said.
The exterior attack method was to simply surround it and drown it out.
Hours and thousands of gallons later, the fire was finally brought under control.
The building had been vacant for about five years and was once the center of the neighborhood.
“Every Sunday night, St. Joseph bingo here. This place was booming,” Dan Konieczny said.
He was also deeply saddened by seeing the building go up in flames.
“I couldn’t believe it. It hurt. I had tears,” Konieczny said.
Duquesne Light crews have disconnected the power to the building.
Later in the day, crews will begin to tear down the building that has stood since the late 1800s.
Due to the demolition, an arson investigation is not likely to be conducted, which means the cause of the fire may never be known.
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