Massive fire destroys several buildings in downtown New Kensington
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
The blaze, at the Liberty Tax building at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, was reported shortly before noon.
Firefighters fought through heavy smoke while attempting to extinguish the blaze.
At one point, they began to break windows, which sent smoke pouring into the surrounding streets.
Three buildings involved. pic.twitter.com/yarfSDnTx5— Matt Provenzo (@MattProvenzoVND) September 13, 2018
New Kensington fire is bad. pic.twitter.com/OdY8GjxZ2G— Matt Provenzo (@MattProvenzoVND) September 13, 2018
Flames and smoke could be seen pouring from storefronts along Ninth Street.
Antoinette Brown is a co-owner of three businesses in one of the building's along Ninth — Jorden Nicole's Boutique, Quick Stop grocery store, and Quick Print T-Shirt. All three were affected by the fire.
"I was sitting down to lunch, and someone came in and said, 'Oh, there's a fire down there by the shopping center," Brown said. "I asked, 'Where at?' and they told me, 'As a matter of fact, I think it's your store."
Bisness owner of three shops, Antoinette Brown of Jorden Nicole's Boutique, Quick Stop Conversation store and Quick Print T-Shirt Shop talks of her loss in the New Ken fire on 9th Street New Ken.Thursday Sept 13, 2018. pic.twitter.com/oFZZWe7Nwc— Louis B. Ruediger (@RuedigerLouis) September 13, 2018
By the time Brown arrived, she said the building was engulfed in flames. The men working across the street told her they saw a spark from a sign at the Liberty Tax store and then saw flames.
Brown said another man walking down the street also saw the flames and called the fire department.
Huge blaze at corner of 9th and 4th New ken multiple builds pic.twitter.com/Txnk0ILC72— Louis B. Ruediger (@RuedigerLouis) September 13, 2018
Darryl Steadman said he and a few others were working in a building across the street when they noticed smoke.
I witness Darryl Steadman talks of what he seen fire started on 9th street New ken pic.twitter.com/qqrwHABeaL— Louis B. Ruediger (@RuedigerLouis) September 13, 2018
Dozens of onlookers gathered across the street in the parking lot of Shop N' Save and Family Dollar.
Traffic is restricted in the area and motorists are advised to avoid the area.
Flames are now shooting out of the building. pic.twitter.com/WuV3TtXQps— Emily Balser (@emilybalser) September 13, 2018
The smoke down here is crazy and getting worse as firefighters continue to battle this fire pic.twitter.com/LiIuntOyaX— Emily Balser (@emilybalser) September 13, 2018
Smoke is blanketing the entire area. pic.twitter.com/nZazkrpQgg— Emily Balser (@emilybalser) September 13, 2018
Rescue aid from the local Salvation Army was on the scene to help victims and first responders.
The salvation army has arrived as crew continue fighting the fire. pic.twitter.com/TyoFPmXmSk— Emily Balser (@emilybalser) September 13, 2018
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, email@example.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.