JEANNETTE (KDKA) — Emergency crews battled a large fire at a commercial building in Jeannette late Saturday night.

(Photo Courtesy: Justin Fagert)

(Photo Courtesy: Justin Fagert)

Crews were on the scene at South Fifth Street and Clay Avenue around 11 p.m. according to the Jeannette EMS Facebook page, the building was formerly a Family Dollar store.

Flames engulfed the second and third floors of the nearly 100 year old building.

“Firefighters quickly hit a hydrant, stretched 200 feet of hose into the second floor. They were met with heavy heat all around on the floors above them,” said Chief Vance Phillips with the Jeannette Fire Department.

Firefighters were forced go on the defensive as flames weakened the now vacant structure. The fire destroyed the building and all of the memories that came with it.

“I remember it used to be Isaly’s store, used to be a bowling alley upstairs we used to set up duckpins,” said Andy McAuliffe. “Just sad, it had a lot of history for the residents here, it was a very, very large building.”

More than 12 hours later, firefighters were still putting water on the hot spots. By then, most of the structure was reduced to piles of bricks and mortar. Tim Williamson’s truck was casualty of the fire.

“My truck is gone, firemen told me it got crushed,” he said.

The city of Jeannette is the only community in Westmoreland County with a 24-hour paid fire staff. So, when the alarm was sounded, firefighters arrived within minutes and it’s believed that may have helped prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings.

Even though the fire was contained, it’s still a major blow to efforts to revive Downtown Jeannette.

“It’s terrible, they’re trying to promote the town, they’re trying to make it pretty again, they’re trying to bring business back into town, then it’s pretty devastating,” said Debora Garbin.

 

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

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