CANONSBURG (KDKA) — A landmark, local candy company in Washington County was damaged by fire this morning. The heavy smoke could be seen for miles, billowing from the famous red-brick building.

It was shortly before 7 a.m. when smoke began pouring out of the windows and from the roof of the ice cream parlor at Sarris Candies on Adams Road in Canonsburg.

“We had just pulled in, in the lot, and just got out of the vehicle and it was right there,” said Terri Lynn Land, a Sarris employee. “There was nothing you could do, the trucks were coming right behind us when we pulled in.”

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson Reports:

About 70 employees work in that part of the Canonsburg institution, which has been around for nearly five decades. All were accounted for and no injuries were reported.

“Everybody’s fine,” said Ilene Cushey, another Sarris employee. “That’s the main thing, everybody’s fine.”

As firefighters labored, Sarris employees were issued paychecks in the parking lot. The fire spared the main confection production facility next door to the ice cream parlor.

“Business as usual for the majority of stuff,” said Bill Sarris, the owner of the candy company. “Trucks are out today; deliveries are being made. The Easter Bunny is safe.”

By 10 a.m., salvaged ice cream was removed, the fire was out and the damage report in.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson Reports:

“Minimum amount of smoke damage down there, little bit of water damage,” Chief Tom Lawrence, of the Canonsburg Fire Department, said. “As far as the parlor itself, I don’t believe there’s any damage to the parlor at all. Everything was in the packaging area; 90 percent was all on the second floor. Absolutely salvageable.”

The firefighters were reportedly, at one point, slipping on melted chocolate as they worked to put the fire out.

Employees meanwhile have been told, keep their chins up and be ready to be back to work as early as next week. The candy store should be open on Tuesday. The ice cream parlor could take a little longer.

“Billy said he’ll get the insurance company… the insurance company will take care of it and he’s hoping to have us back in the building by Tuesday,” Sarris employee Tina Rydzak added. “We’ll be back; we’ll have them bunnies ready for Easter.”

Friday morning, Sarris Candies officials said they believed a faulty furnace could be what sparked the fire, but the Allegheny County Fire Marshal was called to the scene as the cause remains under investigation.

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