CHARLEROI (KDKA) – Firefighters were called to battle a blaze at an old hotel in Charleroi Monday morning, which investigators believe is suspicious.

The old Columbus Hotel in Charleroi has been around for decades, but it very well may have met its end with a fire that broke out around 12:45 a.m.

“First of all, we were dealing with to make sure there was nobody inside the building at the time, even though it’s been unoccupied for three years,” Charleroi Fire Chief Robert Whiten Jr. said. “Looks like the fire started on the first floor and progressed to the second and third floor.”

This was a dangerous fire and for at least one firefighter it was a painful one.

“The individual was up on our ladder truck and the ladder was being moved at the time and his foot slipped on the wrung and got a little tangled up in the ladder. He’s got a sprained ankle and some bruising,” Chief Whiten Jr. said.

The fire was centered in the rear of the building and witnesses said they heard something of interest before firefighters from 10 different companies arrived on scene.

“I was actually sitting right up the road and I heard some explosions and I was wondering what it was. They were repeatedly right after another. I heard six of them,” T.J. Hart said.

The building had no utilities connected at the time of the fire and it looks like a mattress in the rear of the structure caught on fire first, leading investigators to believe the fire is suspicious.


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