MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) – Two people were killed in an early Saturday morning fire in McKees Rocks.
According to officials at the scene, the blaze started around midnight.
The fire spread quickly from the basement to the top floor of the building in the 1000-block of Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks.
“I looked out, the place was engulfed in flames. So bad, you couldn’t even hardly see the front of the building,” neighbor Bob Frank said. “For something like that to happen, it’s starting the year off [kind of] bad.”
Two men died when they were trapped by smoke and flames on the second floor.
“We did primary and secondary searches of the building; unfortunately, two victims were found on the second floor. They were both deceased,” said Chief Nick Radoycis, of the McKees Rocks Fire Department.
One of victims owned and operated a popular neighborhood bar, Gino’s Tavern, on the first floor. He lived in an apartment on the second floor.
Several patrons said they were at the bar Friday night talking to owner, Egidio Mattucci. They say he closed the bar early and went to his apartment several hours before the fire started.
Dale Osterwise says the other victim, Dan Carr, who was one of the other residents, rescued a man from the basement, but perished when he tried to save Mattucci.
“Dan tried to, he went down to get his friend Scott out of the basement,” said Osterwise. “He went back upstairs and it was too late, and they both perished in the fire.”
Jerri Tunney is a long-time friend of Carr’s.
“He was just so war- hearted and would help anybody and everybody whether he knew you or not,” said Tunney.
Friends and patrons are missing Mattucci, who owned the bar for more than 25 years.
“Gino was a good guy,” said Denny O’Donnell, a neighbor. “If you needed a buck, he would give you a buck; if you needed a six pack, he would give you a six pack.”
Patrons lamented over the fact that Mattucci was trying to sell the building, now they say it will probably be demolished.