Fire destroys the Italian Club in Avonmore
Eight people safely evacuated the Italian Club in Avonmore as flames and smoke filled the kitchen Saturday afternoon.
The fire quickly made its way into the roof and destroyed the building, which was built during World War II.
EMS crews checked out a few firefighters for possible exhaustion but no injuries were reported.
Secretary/treasurer MaryAnn Wylie said she was not inside the club at 426 Westmoreland Ave. at the time, but was briefed by a bartender on what happened.
“The bartender told me it was a grease fire,” Wylie said. “Everybody got out fine. She said there was about eight people in there, and they all got out before the fire got bad.”
The fire was reported at about 1:40 p.m.
Avonmore fire Chief John Shaffer confirmed that it started in the kitchen.
“It pretty much climbed the walls, went into the roof and from there escalated,” he said.
“I would say it’s a total loss,” Shaffer said. “It’s an accidental fire.”
Firefighters from eight departments responded.
Shaffer said there was a small issue getting water to the fire as crews connected to hydrants. He did not elaborate. Kiski Township provided a tanker to help with water distribution.
Wylie said the club’s formal name Francisco Ferrer Lodge No. 190, but everyone calls it the Italian Club. It was built in 1942.
“It’s a busy place,” she said. “We have 462 members. We have events, benefits for the town. It’s just really a shame that this happened. My hope is to maybe rebuild.”
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.