• Rare, luxury cars among those damaged in massive warehouse fire in Etna

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    ETNA, Pa. - Rare and luxury were among those damaged in a massive warehouse fire in Etna.

    The fire on Butler Street reached seven-alarms at one point, blanketing much of the downtown area with smoke.

    "The smoke was so severe that we can’t see. We know it’s hot. The deeper you go, the more dangerous it gets. The smoke was a significant problem," said Chief Greg Porter with the Etna Fire Department.

    Borough officials evacuated much of Butler Street and told people to shut their windows.

    Three firefighters were hurt.

    Neighboring community leaders immediately reached out to offer help.

    "Managers from Shaler, Sharpsburg, Millvale (were) calling and saying, 'What can we do?'" It’s a very Pittsburgh type of place where everyone reaches on and helps each other," said Mary Ellen Ramage, the borough manager for Etna.


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    According to the fire chief of the Etna Borough fire department, initial 911 calls reported someone was working on their motorcycle inside and it caught on fire.

    Motorcycles, trailers and antique cars were stored there and the floor some of them were on collapsed.

    PHOTOS: Heavy smoke seen coming from fire at large building in Etna

    "Everything above on the second floor, concrete, including antique cars, very nice cars that are stored upstairs, has all fallen down onto the first floor and it has created a pretty significant problem," Porter said. 

    According to Porter, the fire alarm never went off and it appears the sprinkler system didn't, either.

    Crews battle a warehouse fire on Butler Street in Etna.
    Crews battle a warehouse fire on Butler Street in Etna.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    "The damage here is leading us to believe there may have been some issue prohibiting that from working," Porter said.

    Butler Street may be blocked off through Thursday if there is still fear the wall could collapse.

    There are several businesses in the building, including a machine shop that the owner feared was destroyed.

    “I’m a machinist, welder, I have a lot of industrial sewing equipment in there,” Joe Martin said. "I looked back around me and just saw heavy black, sooty clouds just billowing in."

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    He managed to get out of the building safely, but told Channel 11 he lost everything. It's already been a tough year for him.

    "Back last year in July my house got flooded pretty bad, still working on recovering from that," Martin said.

    Until 2008, the building was Tippins Incorporated.

    The company made machinery for mills and played a big part in Pittsburgh's steel industry for 85 years.

    (Below is the location of the fire.)


     

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