Owner of Strip District’s Yinzers in the Burgh store determined to rebuild after massive blaze

Owner of Strip District’s Yinzers in the Burgh store determined to rebuild after massive blaze

PITTSBURGH — Multiple crews battled a four-alarm fire Wednesday night at a building in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

The fire started about 8 p.m. above the Yinzers in the Burgh store on Penn Avenue. Flames and smoke could be seen shooting from the third floor of the building.

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive alerts to breaking news. CLICK HERE to find out how.

Content Continues Below

Channel 11 was there as firefighters spent more than an hour getting things under control. One hurt his shoulder and was taken to the hospital.

Owner Jim Coen stood by devastated but determined to rebuild. He spent the morning sweeping up glass that broke from the second and third-story windows.

Owner Jim Coen stood by devastated but determined to rebuild. He spent the morning he’s sweeping up glass that broke from the second and third-story windows.

Friends and fellow business owners came to the Thursday to check on the owner.

“I mean I got texts and phone calls from people all over the world, so it makes me feel good, and Pittsburgh’s such a wonderful place you know what I mean. All the business owners were here yesterday giving me their hugs saying, ‘We’re here for you and that means the most to me,’" Jim Coen said.

No one was inside the building when the flames broke out, officials said. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Officials told Channel 11 News the last three days have been taxing for firefighters in the area due to the volume of incidents, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the last 24 hours, for the first responders, they have been very taxing,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “We have had to worry about the virus and wear a mask and social distancing. I think it is important the public knows the first responders and EMS are still out there and doing their job to save the day.”

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive alerts to breaking news. CLICK HERE to find out how.

There is heavy smoke damage on the third floor of the building, according to officials. Yinzers in the Burgh owner Jim Coen said that floor had a lot of wood in it, but no merchandise.

Times have been hard enough on businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Coen told Channel 11 News he is devastated by what happened.

“When I hit 28 and I saw it explode, I almost wrecked my car,” Coen said. “I was praying there was nobody in any of the buildings.”

Coen is concerned the first floor, where there is merchandise, might have sustained a lot of water damage.

Officials said there was also possible damage to the adjacent building.

RAW: Interview with owner of Yinzer In the Burgh