Fire guts Donora apartment building

A catering business on the ground floor sustained heavy damage

May 26, 2014
This photo shows smoke billowing from 740 McKean Ave. in Donora Monday.

A fire that started Monday morning inside an upstairs apartment unit in Donora destroyed the residence and caused heavy damage to a catering business located on the ground floor.

Donora firefighters responded to the blaze at 740 McKean Ave. about 9 a.m. and found the unoccupied apartment on the second floor engulfed in flames.

No injuries were reported, though the apartment unit was heavily damaged, firefighters said.

Cindy Brice Catering, which is located on the first floor of the building, sustained severe water damage as firefighters battled the blaze, businesses owner Cynthia Brice said. She was working Monday afternoon to salvage any equipment and find a temporary place to cook food for upcoming parties.

“I know they’ll rally around me,” Brice said of the community’s support. “I have lots of help getting everything moved out of what we can salvage. The community has been great. We’ll be all right.”

She said she rents space in the building, so she was unsure if the structure would be condemned or if her business could eventually move back into the location. Until then, she planned to look for a temporary space to prepare meals for upcoming banquets her business was scheduled to cater.

“We’ll just have to find another place to cook,” she said.

A man living in the upstairs apartment had just moved out the week before and the apartment was vacant since that time, Brice said.

The state police fire marshal is investigating what started the blaze.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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