By Heather Abraham

VERONA (KDKA) – Firefighters were called to the scene of an intense fire in Verona early Wednesday morning.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started at the Moose Lodge on East Railroad Street around 4 a.m.

Part of the Moose Lodge in Verona came crashing down as a result of the fire and extreme heat.

With all the heat building inside, once the walls were gone, the fire erupted.

As firefighters were battling the flames from all angles, a power line snapped.

One firefighter was on a ladder, mere feet from the line as it energized.

Paramedics checked him out, but he was okay. Others on the ground were also at risk when the line came down.

“Thank God for that little tree right there. There [were] four guys standing right by it, but the wire went right down into the Y of the tree, so it didn’t get anybody,” Verona Fire Chief Ray Suchevich said.

People in two apartment buildings next to the Moose Lodge were also evacuated as flames threatened to move to their homes.

“I actually smelled the smoke a little bit. I kind of woke up and the cops started banging on the door, so I was like, ‘Yeah I’m coming,’ and got the heck out of there,” Donald McKee said.

Some of the 300 members of the Moose Lodge watched as their club was slowly destroyed.

Chief Suchevich said the fire possibly started on the second floor of the building, which contains vacant apartments.

During the course of the fire, the floors collapsed, which only adds to the difficulty of finding a cause. However, some of the circumstances appear suspicious.

“One of the people from the Post Office [saw] people running from the back of the building, so I don’t know,” lodge member Richard Noel said.

That’s something that the Allegheny County Fire Marshal promised to look into as they continue the investigation.


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