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Valley News Dispatch

Massive fire destroys several buildings in downtown New Kensington

Emily Balser
| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 12:15 p.m.
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Joe Gaillot
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Matt Provenzo/Tribune-Review
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Emily Balser/Tribune-Review
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Matt Provenzo/Tribune-Review
Fire crews battled a massive fire in downtown New Kensington on Thursday afternoon.
Fire crews battle a large commercial structure fire along Ninth Street at Fourth Avenue in New Kensington, Sept. 13, 2018.
Steven Adams / Tribune-Review
Fire crews battle a large commercial structure fire along Ninth Street at Fourth Avenue in New Kensington, Sept. 13, 2018.
Fire crews are battling a large commercial structure fire in New Kensington.
Emily Balser/Tribune-Review
Fire crews are battling a large commercial structure fire in New Kensington.
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Joe Gaillot
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Joe Gaillot
Fire destroyed several buildings along Ninth Street in downtown New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

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.

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."

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.


Darryl Steadman said he and a few others were working in a building across the street when they noticed smoke.

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.

Rescue aid from the local Salvation Army was on the scene to help victims and first responders.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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