Convenience store owner’s family escapes flames at his business, apartment

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A fire burned Friday morning at a building in Elizabeth Township that houses a convenience store and an upstairs apartment, where the owner and his family live.

The fire was reported shortly after 5 a.m. at the Trail View convenience store on Industry Road.

A woman driving by saw flames shooting out of the front door of the store. She got out of her car and ran up the stairs to the apartment, knocking until the family came out.

“I tell her, ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.’ Thank you to her, because if she wouldn’t have told her, then I don’t know what would have gone wrong. I might not be standing here in front of you,” Pranav Shah, the store owner, said.

Shah lives in the apartment with his wife and 4-year-old son.

Firefighters think the fire started in the store on the first floor.

Propane tanks were outside the building, adding danger for firefighters who battled flames and smoke that poured from the building.

The building has been remodeled several times, which firefighters said made it tough to knock out the fire.

“I had him unlock the door for me and move away pretty quick because I could tell there was smoke, heavy smoke inside. As soon as he did that and got away from the door, the front door kind of blew open with a lot of flame. It did that twice,” Damien Michaels, with the Elizabeth Township Fire Department, said. “Then the front window let loose and we had heavy fire coming out of the whole store.”

Firefighters said the building is close to a total loss.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office is looking into what started the fire.