ShareThis Page

Mayor: Carnegie business community 'resilient'

| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 5:42 p.m.
Firefighters remained at the scene of a Friday night fire in Carnegie on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The blaze engulfed the building that houses the popular PaPa J's restaurant on the first floor.
Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
Firefighters remained at the scene of a Friday night fire in Carnegie on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The blaze engulfed the building that houses the popular PaPa J's restaurant on the first floor.

The Carnegie business district has been a tight-knit community, but even more so in times of tragedy, leaders said.

As the community continues to mourn following a deadly March 2 apartment fire in the building with PaPa J's at the corner of East Main and Broadway streets that killed one man, some in the Carnegie business community are sharing stories of resilience following that tragic night.

On the night of the fire, Cheryl and Jim Riley, who own Riley's Pour House across the street from the building, lost power around 11:30 p.m. With a packed house filled with around 100 customers, Jim Riley told everyone to not worry about paying their bills and to go home.

While cleaning the next day in the dark, the Rileys were shocked to see customers little by little showing up to the restaurant, wanting to close out their tabs. With no bills to give them since the registers had been down all night, the customers still insisted and told the Rileys what they had ordered, paying for themselves and their friends.

“I was shocked,” Cheryl Riley says. “How many people do that?”

The day after the fire, Carnegie Mayor Stacie Riley, and niece of Jim and Cheryl Riley, was able to go into the heavily damaged building with the engineering team and says it was devastating and surreal.

“I was trapped in the flood back in 2004 and was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, and it brought back so many memories,” Stacie Riley says. “It's hard watching the business someone worked their entire life to build just be gone.”

The businesses and the community of Carnegie and surrounding areas are pouring in with help, donations, and support. Cheryl Riley works for Qorpak in Collier and the company has been collecting clothing and kitchen appliances to donate.

And, she and her husband are very much open to having some of the displaced workers come work in their kitchen until PaPa J's rebuilds.

At Carnegie Coffee Company, owner Ashley Cromer said she will be dedicating some of the tips given at Carnegie Coffee Company to help out as well since she has customers asking how they can help.

Cromer also said she's willing to hire some of the displaced employees if they are in need of work.

The businesses in the business district want to help out and are looking for ways to do so, she said.

“Carnegie has picked up the pieces before,” Stacie Riley said. “We are resilient.”

Sarah Sudar is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me