ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Fire investigators now say a devastating blaze at a Ross Township business complex started in the rear of the second level.

Flames broke out in a building in the 3100-block of Babcock Boulevard, forcing about 25 people from the structure.

Fifty firefighters from several departments were on the scene for much of the day and busy Babcock Boulevard was shut off to traffic.

Ross Township Fire Marshall John Reubi told KDKA’s Kym Gable, “This was quite large. It may have been burning for a little bit of time according to witnesses that smelled smoke for some period – hadn’t determined where it was.”

The building houses a hair salon, insurance company, massage parlor, an attorney’s office and three other businesses.

Workers at Studio Raw, a hair salon, were helping students get ready for the prom and took their operation outside.

“One of our girls grabbed the computer, another girl grabbed our appointment books, we actually have one styling chair, we moved the rest of our prom girls out here in the parking lot under these shaded trees and continued business as usual,” Lorraine Burda, owner of the salon, said.

They weren’t the only ones forced out by the fire.

“I was in the middle of a massage and I could smell the smoke, so I left the room and the smoke was to about my head already in my section – I’m on the middle floor – and I told my client, ‘You gotta get out of here there’s a fire!’” Rachel Kinney said.

Employees spent the evening trying to salvage what they could, but almost everything was destroyed.

The county fire marshal is assisting Ross Township in the investigation to try to pinpoint an exact cause.

Stay with KDKA for the latest details.

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