Sunday, May 26, 2024

Multiple businesses damaged after massive fire rips through Latrobe shopping plaza

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UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — Multiple businesses were heavily damaged by a massive overnight fire at the Latrobe 30 Shoppes in Westmoreland County.

WATCH: KDKA-TV’s Mamie Bah reports


Massive fire rips through Latrobe shopping plaza

01:54

The fire broke out around 3:15 a.m. in the section of the strip mall that contains numerous stores including Goodwill, Harbor Freight Tools, Roadman’s Country Living Shop, a tanning salon, My Fitness Kitchen, and others.

“I own a business in the plaza and it’s just very rough,” said Marnie Guy, of Unity Twp.

Lloydsville Volunteer Fire Chief Brian Schultheis said that it appears the fire started outside of Roadman’s Country Living and spread to the outside of the business and along the overhang of the roof. 

When firefighters arrived at the scene, the fire had spread between 75 to 100 feet across the front of the building with flames shooting 20 to 30 feet in the air.  

Seven fire companies from Unity Township were dispatched to help battle the blaze in addition to others from outside the township who were brought in for assistance.

Two businesses were heavily damaged by the fire itself and the others in that section of the plaza were affected by water and smoke damage. No one was injured during the fire. 

KDKA’s Jen Borrasso spoke to a Unity Twp. native who knew the owner of Roadman’s Country Living, one of the businesses impacted by the fire. 

“She had a lot of nice stuff, a lot of nice stuff. And it was a cute little store that had everything you would want. Her decorations were phenomenal,” said Kathy Hendrickson, a Unity Twp. native. 

“It’s very upsetting to see that. I’m just at a loss for words. I hope it can be rebuilt.”

Property manager Ralph Scalise said that the plaza is a community asset and described it as ‘devastating’ to see the fire and the damage. 

WATCH: KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso reports


Latrobe shopping plaza fire damages multiple businesses

02:37

“Quite frankly, it’s hurtful. It’s a community asset, it really is,” said a visibly emotional Scalise. “We pulled in just to see that center core drop off, the canopy, the fronts, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is really real, not good.'”

“I thought the world was coming to an end. We heard the sirens going, we didn’t know what was going on. It was crazy,” said resident Bryan Bowman.

“We obviously are going to have plans to clean it up, and those that really got damaged badly. two of them, we are going to do what we can to get them back in business as quickly as they can,” Scalise added.

“I think it’s really devastating for the community,” Scalise said. “Those shops, they did their thing for the community, that’s for sure. I’m just beside myself.” 

After getting the fire under control, crews at the scene transitioned into cleanup with significant parts of the facade of the shops having crumbled and fallen down onto the sidewalk below. 

The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating what started the fire, though KDKA-TV was told it may have been an electrical issue. There is no timetable for cleanup or rebuilding. 

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