By Dave Crawley

BUTLER (KDKA) — Towering flames raged for hours in Butler on Sunday morning, destroying apartments and a diner.

Days later, rain falls on rubble that was once a three story building. The flames that destroyed the building on Center Avenue never touched the Capco Paper Company, which is half a block away. But the smoke – that’s a different story.

Owner Sam Capicotto discovered later that smoke had destroyed his entire inventory of party supplies.

“They’re going to bring a dumpster in, and throw everything away. And every night they’re going to move that dumpster so nobody could take anything out of it, because it’s very toxic,” he says.

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Daughters Susan Frawley and Denise Slagel practically grew up in this store.

“We helped them to put the parties together,” Susan says. “How to match things, and how things should look.”

In some cases, Denise says, they actually discouraged customers from buying.

“We tried to save them money. You don’t really need this many.”

“Buy a roll of plastic instead of buying individual table cloths, you’ll save money,” her sister adds. “That’s how we built our customer base. We have a lot of fun, and customers come in here because we are fun!”

On the bright side, wholesale inventory on the far side of the building did survive. But in Capco’s colorful retail shop, they’ll be starting over.

If only the wind on Sunday had only been blowing in a different direction.

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