By Ross Guidotti

SHALER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A man was able to escape to safety early this morning after fire broke out at a building that housed chemicals in Shaler Township.

The flames broke out around 5:30 a.m. in the 1600-block of Butler Plank Road. When crews got to the scene, they found a building heavily involved but the man living there safe.

“There was a bunch of smoke and a fire next door with all the fire trucks outside,” said Donald Arend, of Shaler Township. “The downstairs is a business rental and the top is an apartment.”

The fast-moving fire destroyed the second floor of the building, living quarters for the lone occupant. The downstairs housed a business.

“Well, we had chemicals down on the first floor, which I’m aware of,” said Chief Mike Hepner, of the Undercliff Volunteer Fire Department.

Firefigthers were able to take care of the chemicals, but would then spend several hours trying to extinguish the flames.

The fire apparently centered in the rear kitchen area, and the structure had smoke alarms, which made the difference.

“The person was at home; he escaped without injury, so we’re thankful for that,” said Chief Hepner.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal continues to investigate the cause.

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