CARNEGIE (KDKA) — One person died Saturday after a roaring fire in Carnegie that possibly destroyed a beloved family restaurant.
Flames overtook PaPa J’s restaurant and the apartments upstairs late Friday night.
Neighbors filled the streets of Carnegie, looking up in disbelief.
“It was roaring. We had three guys on ladders, and I mean, you could hear it,” Stephen Danley, of Collier Township, said. “Even down at [nearby restaurant] One Thirty One, we could hear the roaring fire. It was intense last night.”
Mementos from inside the popular Italian restaurant now sit out in the street. The owner of PaPa J’s didn’t want to talk on camera, but said he’s in shock.
He told KDKA at least one person wound up in the hospital.
Allegheny County officials confirmed Saturday evening that a man who was injured in the fire has died.
The victim has been identified as 64-year-old John Michael Wells, of Carnegie. He was pronounced dead at the hospital around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Firefighters say it was a cooking accident that sparked the fire.
“A resident fell asleep. It was a cooking accident, and then it went from there,” Carnegie Fire Chief Todd Scott said.
The flames destroyed the top two floors, causing part of the building to collapse. Scott said the owners will likely need to rebuild, and more than a dozen people will now look for a new place to stay.