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B.T. Brake Sales Inc. destroyed by fire

| Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009

Fire ripped through a Connellsville business early Wednesday morning.

The fire at B.T. Brake Sales Inc., located at 117 W. Peach St., resulted in three firemen being treated for injuries at the scene.

New Haven Hose Fire Chief Robert Topper said the call came in around 4 a.m.

"The fire was through the roof within minutes of us arriving on scene," said Topper.

It took fire crews nearly two hours to get the fire under control. The building sustained extensive fire damage. The roof collapsed.

Topper said firefighters had only two doors in which to spray water. He said all the windows were blocked and the roof was flat.

With the size of the fire, Topper said a major concern was the attached structure to the business. Topper said firefighters did a great job with preventing the fire from spreading. The attached structure sustained only smoke, water and a little fire damage.

"They did a tremendous job of keeping the fire from extending," Topper said.

Fire was one thing, but smoke was another story.

In the early moments of the fire, smoke sat thick along Peach, Pittsburgh, and East Fayette streets and surrounding areas.

Crystal Rummel of Connellsville was returning home along from work along East Fayette Street when she started smelling smoke in her home. Then she saw the flames and smoke.

"The whole sky was covered by it (smoke)," Rummel said. "It looked like fog."

Heading down to get a closer look at the fire, Rummel said the fire was so heavy and thick, she had to cover her face.

"I've never seen anything like this," she said.

Topper said the Connellsville Police Department alerted nearby neighbors of the building that there was a fire.

The business is owned by William Tedesco.

Firefighters were on the scene for nearly six hours to mop up extensive overhaul from the roof collapse and the materials inside.

Three firefighters suffered injuries fighting the blaze. One suffered a lower-back injury, and another was treated for heat exhaustion. The injury sustained by the third firefighter is unknown. Firefighters were treated at the scene and not sent to a local hospital.

The cause and origin of the fire is still under investigation by Connellsville City Fire Marshal Mike Long.

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