OKLAHOMA BOROUGH, Pa. - An historic former hotel was destroyed late Tuesday night in Oklahoma Borough, Westmoreland County.
The old Belvedere Hotel collapsed in on itself as flames ripped through the building just before midnight, officials said.
Located on Route 66, the building was a hotel in the early 1900s. It later became a bar and also had apartments, but no one had been living there for about two years.
Route 66 was closed from Route 819 to the Apollo Bridge on the Armstrong County side until about 8 a.m. The railroad was also shut down.
Because of asbestos throughout the building, which was reduced to rubble by the fire, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has been called. An asbestos contractor will have to clean it up.
People in the area are sad the piece of history is gone.
“It’s been a landmark. Pass it and come through here, you know you’re home, and it’s going to be greatly missed,” Amy Stoughton, who works nearby, said.
The borough had been trying to find money to tear down the building, according to officials.
“Very dilapidated building that was caving in. They were worried about it collapsing, that’s how bad it was,” Oklahoma Fire Chief Don Polka said.
Polka said the fire is suspicious because no one was living in the building and there were no utilities, but a fire marshal will make the final determination.
No one was injured.
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