Elevator motor fire temporarily disrupts Black Friday shoppers
Black Friday shoppers temporarily were evacuated from Sears and other businesses at Century III Mall in West Miffllin after an elevator motor caught fire.
A large amount of smoke was reported in the mall shortly before 9 a.m. The fire was reported by a maintenance worker who was servicing the elevator, authorities said. The worker called for help when he noticed heat coming from a door to the elevator's workings.
West Mifflin No. 4 Skyview Volunteer Fire Co. Assistant Chief Bill Pelikan said the motor and its oil burned within the elevator shaft. No one was injured, but the store and businesses around it were cleared while fire crews remained on scene.
“This could have been very serious,” said Pelikan.
The upper level of Sears reopened about two hours after the fire was extinguished, and the whole store was back open by mid-afternoon.
Mall general manager Gina Mercorelli said the smoke was “disconcerting to say the least,” but said the incident didn't seem to deter many shoppers.
“It's out, the mall's open, and it's still Black Friday,” she said.
Philip Pelusi Salon and several eateries in the food court were among the businesses that closed during the fire.
Information regarding damages from the fire was not available at presstime. The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office is investigating.
Pelikan said water and special extinguishing agents were used to contain the fire. Others at the scene said the floor in Sears was slippery because of spilled oil.
Shoppers reported seeing and smelling smoke as they entered the Sears side of the mall.
Lisa Haberjak of Port Vue dropped off her vehicle or service shortly after 7:30 a.m. and was returning to the Sears automotive department as the fire began.
“I went into the mall and walked around,” Haberjak said. “I was coming back through, and I walked into Sears just as it started. They were trying to figure out what to do.”
One Sears employee waiting in the parking lot during the ordeal noted that some customers were reluctant to leave the store even after the evacuation notice had been given.
As fire crews from around the borough were responding to the Sears incident, Lebanon Church Road was closed briefly due to a vehicle accident near Rodeo Drive.
Firefighters from Glassport Citizens Hose Co. No. 1 were called to the 10:05 a.m. head-on collision of two SUVs, even though the crash happened directly in front of the West Mifflin VFC No. 3 station.
“All the others were tied up,” said Glassport fire Capt. Wayne Lewis III. Lewis said ambulance crews took two motorists to area hospitals for treatment. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage and were towed from the scene.
Fire crews had to clear spilled motor oil from the intersection, and debris was strewn across Lebanon Church Road, necessitating its closure.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writer Jennifer R. Vertullo contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport Area shares high-tech building during official dedication
- Progress reported in Elizabeth Township manager search
- East Allegheny school board sets special session as strike continues
- Homestead hires code enforcer
- ‘Oklahoma!’ kicks off McKeesport Little Theater’s 54th season
- Authorities probe 2 fires at McKeesport home
- South Versailles plans road reconstruction