Smoke evacuates Rostraver Kmart
An overheated rooftop HVAC unit forced Kmart in Rostraver Township to evacuate and temporarily close Monday afternoon.
Kmart managers Joyce Lahti and Rob Cummings said workers noticed a “haze” inside the store just after 4 p.m. and began evacuating approximately 30 customers and employees as a precaution.
Firefighters from Rostraver Central soon arrived and found the source of the smoke to be coming from atop the building, according to Rostraver Central assistant chief Justin Shawley.
Shawley said firefighters quickly disconnected electrical power to the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning unit located toward the rear of the building. The unit never caught fire, Shawley said.
Cummings said he initially thought the light smoke was coming from the ceiling when firefighters were called, adding the evacuation was “prompt and orderly.”
Nearly an hour later, firefighters and employees waited outside for a ventilation truck to arrive from the Westmoreland City volunteer fire department.
The large apparatus is able to ventilate large buildings when the normal fans used for homes and other smaller structures do not suffice, Shawley said.
Lahti said the store was to continue operations Monday evening after the ventilation was complete.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.