Fire destroys former car dealership in North Huntingdon, Route 30 reopens |

Fire destroys former car dealership in North Huntingdon, Route 30 reopens

JEFF HIMLER | Tribune-Review
Firefighters continued to mop up at the scene of a fire that destroyed the former Hamilton Buick car dealership along Route 30 in North Huntingdon on Friday night.
JEFF HIMLER | Tribune-Review
Firefighters fighting a fire at the former Hamilton Buick car dealership along Route 30 in North Huntingdon on Friday night brought in heavy equipment to tear down a damaged section of the vacant building in order to expose flames in the rubble in that area.

A fire Friday night tore through the former Hamilton Buick car dealership just off Route 30 in the Jacktown Hill section of North Huntingdon, destroying the building, officials said.

Passing motorists reported the fire near the intersection of Center Highway at about 6:30 p.m., according to Circleville Assistant Fire Chief William Sombo.

“Within minutes the entire structure was involved, and it was right at rush hour on Friday the 13th,” he said.

Traffic in both directions on Route 30 was halted until about 10:45 p.m. to allow firefighters room to safely battle the blaze.

Traffic on Center Highway remained shut down late Friday as firefighters continued to douse hot spots in the charred ruins.

Sombo said the building, including a showroom and a small office space, was destroyed.

It was used to store parts for the Kenny Ross auto group, he said.

Nobody was in the building at the time, and there were no injuries to firefighters, Sombo said.

The Circleville Volunteer Fire Department was assisted by several other fire companies from both Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, including nine ladder trucks.

“It was completely a defensive firefight,” Sombo said. Firefighters were ordered not to enter the building to fight the fire.

Sombo was not able to say where the fire may have started.

Heavy equipment was used to tear apart portions of the damaged building so firefighters could douse remaining flames.

“We had to pull everything apart to get to the hot spots,” Sombo said. “There’s a concrete showroom floor and the metal roof came down on top of it.

”All the contents that were in under it is what we’re trying to break apart, and get the roof apart, so we can get in and complete the overhaul on all the hot spots,” he said as firefighters continued to work at the scene Friday night.

North Huntingdon Township fire investigators were summoned to the scene. Township police at the scene said they were not able to comment on the investigation.

Jeff Himler and Natasha Lindstrom are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news. Contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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