BLAIRSVILLE (KDKA) – A Wednesday night fire left one man dead and several businesses damaged or destroyed in Indiana County.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 11 p.m. at Sharon’s Bar on East Market Street in Blairsville.

Panic and worry set in for friends of 68-year-old Gene Tressler in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:

“He always answers his phone and no one has been able to get in touch with him,” Cindy Thompson, a friend, said.

They would soon realize their worst fears had come true as Tressler was found dead in the rubble Thursday morning.

The fire started in the kitchen of Sharon’s and the 100-year-old building went up in flames quickly.

“She said, ‘Mom the deep fryer’s bubbling.’ Sharon ran back there and said it shouldn’t be doing that,” Joe Koreni Jr. said. “About two minutes later, it started the fire.”

The fire spread to Chaeck’s Ice Cream Shop, Chaek’s photography business and the family’s home behind as well as another apartment building.

“We did lose three cats. That made me more sad. Material things come and go, but they were our family,” Dave Chaek said.

KDKA’s Christine D’Antonio Reports:

For Thompson, Tressler was like family.

“Sweet man, good-hearted man. My boyfriend’s best friend called him his little brother,” Thompson said. “Terrible, terrible way to die.”

Six families were displaced as a result of the fire.


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