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Coraopolis fire destroys body shop, laundromat and car wash

Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Charred debris litters the inside of a Laundromat that was destroyed by fire early Monday morning in Coraopolis. The building housed a laundromat, car wash, and auto body shop.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Charred debris litters the inside of a Laundromat that was destroyed by fire early Monday morning in Coraopolis. The building housed a laundromat, car wash, and auto body shop.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - A crew from 1-800-BoardUp works on securing the scene at a building that caught fire early Monday morning in Coraopolis. The building housed a laundromat, car wash, and auto body shop.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>A crew from 1-800-BoardUp works on securing the scene at a building that caught fire early Monday morning in Coraopolis. The building housed a laundromat, car wash, and auto body shop.

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By Margaret Harding
Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 3:03 p.m.
 

Al Ketter said he doesn't think he could ever really retire, but losing his Coraopolis body shop to a fire early Monday might change that.

“It's not the way I had it planned,” said Ketter, 58, of Neville Island. “I don't know what I'm going to do.”

The fire, reported at about 1:40 a.m., destroyed a Laundromat and car wash in the building on Fifth Avenue, Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Chief Larry Byrge said.

No one was hurt.

Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting through the roof and windows.

“The building is a total loss,” Byrge said.

Byrge said six other departments helped douse the fire with aerial equipment. The water damaged vacant upstairs apartments in a building next door, Byrge said.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause. The fire appeared to start in the Laundromat, Byrge said.

“It could've been toward the back end of the Laundromat,” he said. “When we got there, it wasn't small by any means, so it makes it hard to determine.”

Ketter rented the basement of the building for his Al's Body Shop for 38 years. He said Coraopolis police called him about 2:30 a.m. to tell him about the fire.

His shop, with four customers' vehicles inside, filled with three feet of water. At least three of the vehicles are a total loss, he said.

“It's still settling in,” Ketter said.

The owners of the Laundromat and car wash could not be reached.

Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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