NORTH HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — Fire at an abandoned strip club in Westmoreland County destroyed three buildings and prompted the emergency evacuation of a nearby daycare Wednesday afternoon.
The large, wind-whipped fire started around 1:30 p.m. at Old Gloria’s Cantina along Route 30 in North Huntingdon.
Demolition workers were tearing down the old strip club, but they saw the flames when they got back to the site after lunch.
A daycare center next door had to be evacuated when the fire spread to their building.
About 15 to 20 children, ages 6-months-old to 6-years-old, were safely evacuated. Not long after, part of Gloria’s Cantina collapsed on it.
“You are sitting at your desk at work, you get a call from the daycare to come and pick our children up immediately, there’s been an emergency… tons of thoughts run through your head,” said Justin Deem, the father of one of the evacuated children. “They did an excellent job of getting the kids out of the building. I’m just thankful that my little guys are okay.”
“I was just focusing on the kids and the staff and making sure everyone got out. We all got out. Unfortunately, belongings are in there, but that’s it,” said Tiffany Rudy, the owner of the daycare. “We just grabbed as many hands as we could, and said, ‘Come on guys, let’s go. They were crying; we did what we had to do.”
Gloria’s Cantina and Lounge was permanently closed a few years ago after state police raided it for drugs and prostitution allegations.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.