‘He’s going to be missed forever’: Owner dies when intense flames rip through Somerset County bar

BOSWELL, Pa. — A person died early Wednesday morning in a massive fire at a bar in Somerset County.

The fire started at Walat’s Bar in Boswell around 6 a.m.

When crews got to the fire, intense flames were consuming the building. In all, more than a dozen fire companies were called to fight the fire.

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“It meant a lot to the mountain. Everybody would come up here, people from the city, snowmobilers, motorcycle riders,” Bryan Whitlock said.

Whitlock was just sitting at the bar last night with owner Marty Walat.

“Marty was always here. He’s real friendly, always talked to everybody, all the people who lived here on the mountain. Even people who came in from out of town,” Whitlock said.

The coroner confirmed Walat died in the fire -- in the very place where he spent so much time and where customers became friends.

“He’s very friendly. He’s a big jokester, likes to laugh and joke and have a great time. He was well loved up here. He’s going to be missed forever,” Whitlock said.

The fire chief said there weren’t any hydrants nearby so water was an issue. They had to call in about a dozen tankers to help put it out.

Friends and family said this wasn’t just a bar to Walat, it was his life.

“That was his livelihood. He loved it. It made him happy being here. It made him real happy. He enjoyed his customers,” Whitlock said.

State police said the fire does not appear to be intentional. They do not suspect any foul play, but they said finding a cause will take some time.