BLAIRSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) — Several people were rescued when a massive fire broke out early Tuesday morning in Blairsville, Indiana County.
Crews were called out just before 5 a.m. to the Fox’s Pizza shop on the corner of East Market and North Stewart Streets in the heart of Blairsville’s business district.
The fire raged for hours, and by late morning, crews were still working to put out hot spots.
More than a dozen different fire departments responded to the scene. There was such a large response because they were worried that the fire would spread to the nearby buildings.
Neighbors also rushed to help.
Dee Spencer lives next door. She acted fast after seeing the smoky inferno with flames raging on the roof, just inches from live power wires.
“I don’t know how it started in the one apartment. The kids got out and so did their parents, and we got the other two out in the other apartment,” said Spencer.
But not everyone could take the steps. Firefighters pulled up to find four people hanging from an upstairs window.
“We threw a ladder off the truck, put it up against the window. Zach went up and I and assisted, bringing them down,” said Blairsville volunteer firefighter Jonathan Santoro.
For the two firefighters, it was their first real-life rescue.
“Just the right place, at the right time. Any fire department would have done the same thing,” said firefighter Zach Dixon.
Crews attacked the fire from every angle with two ladders from the sky and hoses from ground. The fire burned through a pizza shop, a law office and several apartments.
“Fortunately, the temperatures weren’t that bad today. If this was last week, we would have had all kinds of problems,” said Blairsville Safety Officer Jim Meighan.
Meighan says the town’s main water line just broke the other day, so he’s glad they planned ahead.
“Yesterday we called a number of companies to bring their tankers in, in case we had a fire. And the very next day after we did that we ended up, of course, with this fire,” he said.
Because of the fire and water line break, Blairsville has issued a mandatory water restriction. They are asking residents and businesses to conserve.
They’ve issued this statement: “Blairsville Municipal Authority is issuing an Emergency Water Restriction. Once again we are asking for your assistance in conserving your water usage. Due to a major water line break and the recent fire in town the water tanks are extremely low. We are asking all residents and businesses to use little or no water until further notice. We appreciate your cooperation.”