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AVONMORE, Pa. (KDKA) — Massive flames shot through the roof of the Avonmore Italian Club in Westmoreland County on Saturday morning.
The Italian Club was left with a huge hole in the building after the roof collapsed during the fire. Chief John Shaffer was a few blocks away at home when the call came in.
“Got a report of a small kitchen fire, nothing heavy,” Shaffer said.
The Avonmore Fire Department is less than a block away from the Italian Club and firefighters got there quickly, but the fire burned faster and firefighters could do little to save the building.
“Coming around the corner, the backside of the kitchen was on fire. It was coming up through the roof, so it followed the roof line,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer says aerial trucks were needed to reach over utility lines to fight the fire. It was the second fire at the club since the early ’90s. The club was rebuilt and has been a favorite for decades.
“It’s horrible. We’re just devastated. You know, we’re all friends. It’s a little tiny town,” longtime club member Ken Carnahan said.
Carnahan says he feels bad for the club owners, who were too upset to speak to KDKA News at the scene.
Firefighters from eight departments assisted Avonmore.
No one was hurt and the cause is under investigation.