By Amy Wadas

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PITCAIRN (KDKA) – Investigators are looking into a suspicious fire in Pitcairn that broke out around 3:30 a.m. Monday.

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A Dodge Caravan went up in flames inside of a garage along an alley off of Wall Avenue.

After investigators gathered evidence, the van was towed away. Pitcairn Police Officer Benjamin Azzarello, who’s been on the force for four years, saved the day.

“Officer Azzarello though, I give him credit. He was patrolling. If it wasn’t for his quick actions, this may have been a different outcome, even fatal,” said Pitcairn Police Chief Scott Farally.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

When Officer Azzarello spotted smoke coming from a building that used to house the old Barry’s Bar, he called firefighters. The building now houses multiple apartment units.

“We evacuated everybody out of the building. Our guys were here pretty quick. Knocked the fire down pretty rapidly. We had a smoke situation throughout the building,” said Pitcairn Fire Chief Thomas Dick with Hose Company No. 1.

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“I heard a cop banging on the doors and he said, ‘We’re evacuating. There’s smoke downstairs,’” said evacuee Clarence Edwards.

Firefighters quickly realized the van was on fire. The car was burning while the garage doors were closed. Investigators believe the fire is suspicious.

The garage door was unlocked, access was able to be made by anybody and being that nobody was supposed to be in the garage, the fire was inside the vehicle so that’s what makes it suspicious,” Chief Dick said.

The van has been sitting in this garage untouched for years. Investigators are also looking into other concerns.

“The only thing I was discouraged about is I didn’t hear a single fire alarm going off in the building. I don’t know why but there should have been some type of fire alarm in the building to alert people,” said Chief Dick.

“I didn’t hear a smoke alarm go off,” said Edwards.

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The Pitcairn fire marshal is handling the investigation.