WEST NEWTON (KDKA) – One business was destroyed and another was heavily damaged in a Wednesday evening fire in Westmoreland County.
Just after 10:30 Wednesday night, flames ripped through the garage that houses the business Area 51 Autoworx and several antique cars.
“It’s so sad because they restore antique cars and it was full of gorgeous antique cars and it was up in flames. I mean I could see the flames from my house. I live up on the hill,” Mayor of West Newton Mary Popovich said.
Embers from the garage spread to West Newton Pizza House next door, damaging the first and second floors. The pizza shop is a family owned business and has been in town since 1957.
“We lost, a few months ago, two buildings on Main Street, so now to lose these two… Just hoping the Hunt family will be able to rebuild the pizza house because it’s been such a staple forever,” neighbor Rainey Craig said.
“From my understanding, the folks that own the pizza house had just left 15 minutes prior to the start of the fire,” Popovich said.
The biggest struggle for firefighters was dealing with power and cable lines that burned off to the ground.
“My granddaughter got up. She thought fireworks were going off because all the wires cracking and everything else,” neighbor Dave Craig said.
They also had trouble hitting hot spots where chemicals in the auto shop were located.
The state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.