Fire caused extensive damage to Greensburg’s public works building |

Fire caused extensive damage to Greensburg’s public works building

Megan Tomasic | Tribune-Review
Firefighters were called to the scene of a fire at 520 South Urania Ave. in Greensburg just before midnight Friday.
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to remove a section of the roof of Greensburg’s public works building where smoke was seen coming out of the roof early Saturday morning.
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
Ash from the fire at Greensburg’s public works building lays on one of the city’s vehicles on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Several of Greensburg’s street department vehicles and equipment were damaged in a fire early Saturday morning that caused extensive damage to the inside of the city’s public works building, the fire chief said.

”It destroyed most of the building inside — probably half of the building,” Chief Tom Bell said Saturday morning as city firefighters returned to the public works building at 520 S. Urania Ave. at 8:10 a.m. to extinguish a fire smoldering in one corner of the roof.

“The heat generated from the fire twisted all the beams in the building,” Bell said.

Despite the intense heat, the exterior of the walls and roof remained intact.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze at 11:45 p.m. Friday by smoke detector that triggered the alarm, Bell said

When he arrived at the scene, “the flames were through the roof,” Bell said.

The building did not have a fire suppression system, he said.

Bell, who also is the city’s public works department director, said they were able to drive three dump trucks out of the building but two large dump trucks that remained inside the structure are badly charred. While those two dump trucks were not touched by fire, they were damaged by heat and smoke, which could affect the electrical systems, Bell said.

“With the amount of heat in there, we’re going to have to get everything checked out,” Bell said.

The city’s asphalt paver, a shop pickup truck and various tools also were damaged, Bell said.

The equipment the city uses in snow plowing was damaged as well, Bell said.

“If this were November, we’d be in trouble,” Bell said, but once the vehicles are cleaned, they should be operable.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Bell said it is believed to have started in the street sweeper or around the street sweeper, which was destroyed. The blaze may have been caused by an electrical malfunction, he said.

Despite the intense heat, the exterior of the walls and roof remained intact.

Greensburg firefighters were assisted by units from the Greensburg area. The city firefighters did not leave the scene until about 4 a.m., Bell said.

Joe Napsha and Megan Tomasic are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter @MeganTomasic. Reach Joe at 724-836-5252 or [email protected]

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