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Fire destroys popular Delmont restaurant; 1 firefighter injured

| Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 9:44 a.m.
One firefighter was injured in a massive, two-alarm fire that destroyed a popular Delmont restaurant and bar Friday morning. Amanda Dolasinski | Tribune-Review
One firefighter was injured in a massive, two-alarm fire that destroyed a popular Delmont restaurant and bar Friday morning. Amanda Dolasinski | Tribune-Review
One firefighter was injured in a massive, two-alarm fire that destroyed a popular Delmont restaurant and bar Friday morning. Amanda Dolasinski | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a blaze at Carney's Corner in Delmont on November 16, 2012. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a blaze at Carney's Corner in Delmont on November 16, 2012. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work the scene of a blaze at Carney's Corner in Delmont on November 16, 2012. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review

James Moore calmly watched smoke waft up from the charred remains of his Delmont apartment Friday morning.

It took only about an hour for a fast-moving fire to rip through his apartment above Carney's Corner Tavern, destroying the popular bar and restaurant on Pittsburgh Street.

Moore lost everything he owned, including his family's Thanksgiving turkey, but as he stood watching firefighters, he was grateful that his sons were not at home when the massive fire broke out.

“It's just things,” said Moore, 50. “Everything I own except the clothes on my back are gone, but that doesn't matter. There are more important things in life.”

A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause.

“We're just devastated,” said Maureen Zuffall, who owns the business with her husband, Tim.

Neighbors who reported the fire weren't aware that Moore's sons, ages 11 and 16, were in school, so firefighters initially thought people were trapped inside.

“Thank God they were in school,” Moore said.

The family's two dogs — an adult Rottweiler mix and a golden Retriever puppy kept in a crate — died in the fire.

Bill Heaps, a Delmont Public Works employee, was driving past the restaurant, which had not yet opened for the day, saw smoke and stopped. He heard the dogs barking and, with assistance from Delmont police, was able to kick down the back door.

“When we got the door open, it was smoky,” he said. “You could feel the heat.”

He tried calling for the Rottweiler because it was loose, but it was too scared to move, Heaps said.

Flames shot out of the apartment windows as several fire departments battled the blaze.

Two ladder trucks sprayed water from above. After the roof collapsed, firefighters focused on dousing flames in the exposed apartment.

The fire was under control just after 10 a.m., said Delmont fire Capt. Logan Clark.

“The challenge was heavy smoke,” he said. “We tried to make entry, but there was heavy heat.”

The American Red Cross will provide housing and food for the displaced family.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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