Firefighter hurt in 4-alarm blaze at Market Square restaurant | TribLIVE.com
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Firefighter hurt in 4-alarm blaze at Market Square restaurant

1972565_web1_ptr-MarketSq-TD02-112119
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
fire damage A four-alarm fire Thursday afternoon heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The blaze was in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant. By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said. Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.
1972565_web1_ptr-marketsqfire1
Courtesy Leslie Craven
A view of the fire at Winghart’s restaurant on Thursday afternoon as seen from the 29th floor of 1 PPG Place.
1972565_web1_ptr-marketsqfire3
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
At least a dozen firefighters battle a blaze on the roof of Winghart’s restaurant in Market Square on Thursday.
1972565_web1_ptr-MarketSq-02-112119
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
fire damage A four-alarm fire Thursday afternoon heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The blaze was in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant. By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said. Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.
1972565_web1_ptr-MarketSq-TD03-112119
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
fire damage A four-alarm fire Thursday afternoon heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The blaze was in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant. By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said. Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.
1972565_web1_ptr-MarketSq-TD01-112119
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
fire damage A four-alarm fire Thursday afternoon heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The blaze was in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant. By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said. Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.
1972565_web1_ptr-MarketSq-01-112119
Pittsburgh Public Safety Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
fire damage A four-alarm fire Thursday afternoon heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The blaze was in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant. By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said. Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.
1972565_web1_ptr-marketsqfire2
Courtesy Leslie Craven
A view of the fire at Winghart’s restaurant on Thursday afternoon as seen from the 29th floor of 1 PPG Place.

A four-alarm fire during lunchtime Thursday heavily damaged a popular restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the blaze in the floors above Winghart’s Restaurant at 5 Market Square.

The fire was reported shortly before noon and was upgraded to a four-alarm blaze by 12:25 p.m., Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said.

By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control, and authorities began their investigation. One firefighter was hurt and taken to UPMC Mercy for treatment, Cruz said. His condition wasn’t released, but Cruz said he was alert and was able to walk out of the building on his own.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said it’s too early to know what caused the fire. Flames shot through the roof of the building, but Hissrich said he didn’t know whether the blaze started there or in another part of the building and worked its way to the roof.

The building sustained heavy water damage and fire damage to the roof. Hissrich declined to comment on possible structural damages. He said the city’s Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections are conducting an inspection.

He said the fire should have no impact on the city’s annual Light Up Night festivities Friday.

“The sidewalk area will be closed around the burned area,” Hissrich said. “I don’t think other than that sidewalk area there will be any impact on Light Up Night. Our fire investigation unit is on the scene. They’ll complete a thorough investigation and determine what started the fire.”

He said Winghart’s would likely remain closed for months.

Hissrich noted that several Market Square businesses have been damaged by fires in recent years. He said a contributing factor was likely the age the buildings. Many buildings in the square date to the 1800s.

Nola’s restaurant was closed for months after a 2014 fire, and Nicholas Coffee was damaged by fire in 2017.

Market Square is preparing to host the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, which opens Friday in time for Light Up Night, and the square is cordoned off.

A crowd of passers-by watched as scores of firefighters worked to get the blaze under control, with more than a dozen firefighters on the roof of the building.

Journalism students from Point Park University also gained experience in covering breaking news. They were among members of the media reporting on the fire.

The businesses near the building were evacuated without incident, Cruz said.

Among them was La Gondola Pizza, next door to Winghart’s

Sergio Muto, owner of La Gondola, stopped cooking and was ordered out of his building, he said. Muto remembered the 2014 fire that also damaged the building and said this one was worse.

“It was fast,” said Tina Crawford, who works at the nearby Subway and was also asked to leave. “We went outside, and we seen flames. It was a big fire. It was a little frightening.”

The owners of Ephesus Pizza on Fourth Avenue, directly behind the Winghart’s building, remained open during the blaze. Owners Canap and Fatima Kosar donated water, soda and pizza to firefighters who were using the roof of their building to douse flames.

“They have a very hard job,” Canap Kosar said. “When I see someone suffer like that, I feel like I suffer.”

The historic Burke’s Building next door to Ephesus was not damaged by flames but had smoke throughout the inside. The building dates to 1836 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It survived a fire that destroyed most of Downtown Pittsburgh in 1845, according to John Tippins, one of the owners.

The building now houses Stonewood Capital Management, which renovated the building after purchasing it in 2010. Tippins, a Stonewood partner, said the smoke wasn’t bad enough to evacuate the building.

“I think it’s getting in through our [ventilation] system,” he said.

Bob Bauder and Tom Davidson are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter @TribDavidson.

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