Building owner vows to help Allegheny Angler to stay in Tarentum
The owner of a Tarentum building damaged by fire last month says she wants to keep the well-known fishing tackle shop in her building’s first floor.
Olivia Phillips, who owns the L-shaped building at Second Avenue and Ross Street that caught fire Oct. 17, vowed to help Allegheny Angler re-open.
“We will do everything we can to keep that bait shop in operation,” Phillips said.
The initial reports of the blaze indicated it was accidental and possibly caused by an appliance in the kitchen, said Rich Heuser, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS operations manager. Local officials have not yet received the final results of the investigation from the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s office, Heuser said.
Allegheny Angler has rented from Phillips for 30 years and is the only fishing tackle shop between Harmar and Kittanning. The shop has been closed since the fire.
“They have been great tenants,” she said.
The store still is selling fishing equipment online, said Rick DeMichele, Allegheny Angler co-owner.
“We’re planning on staying here if we can,” DeMichele said.
He would like to reopen in February to prepare for the store’s busy time in March and April during the run-up to the opening of trout season.
The first floor of the building — where the store is — received water damage. The other part of the building, where Phillips lived, is uninhabitable. The second floor is a total loss, she said.
Phillips, who is now living in Lower Burrell, is unsure of the fate of the entire building.
On her third Dumpster to clean out her fire-damaged home, Phillips said Tuesday she is working with others to assess the damages and secure repair estimates. There are no time estimates available as to when the bait shop could reopen.
According to Phillips, she and her ex-husband, John Phillips, built the building in the early 1980s and opened the Big Dipper ice cream shop, which later became the tackle shop.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, email@example.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.