Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Community Vows to Work Together to Help Victims of Devastating Fire

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Community Vows to Work Together to Help Victims of Devastating Fire

Article excerpt

The borough of Carnegie has rallied together in the wake of a March 2 fire at Papa J's Ristorante that killed one man and left 25 people homeless.

A large number of residents and business owners attended council's workshop meeting Monday night to offer support to restaurant owner Michael Troiani, as well as his 42 employees and the tenants of 11 apartments on the upper floors of the building.

The blaze gutted the landmark restaurant at 200 E. Main St. The county Fire Marshall's office said Wednesday the cause of the fire appeared to be accidental. It said the fire started in a second floor apartment when the occupant fell asleep while cooking. The investigation is ongoing.

John Michael Wells, 64, a maintenance worker for the building died from smoke inhalation, and one tenant had to be rescued via a ladder truck.

Mayor Stacie Riley praised the efforts of firefighters.

"Carnegie will bounce back from this. It will be an ongoing process," the mayor said. "Carnegie has picked up the pieces in the past. We will certainly do it again."

Council President Sue Demko called the fire devastating.

"The Red Cross is working with the tenants and the mayor is reaching out to the Salvation Army," she said. "We will do everything and anything to help the Troianis and the tenants."

Mr. Troiani said his employees also are victims. "There are a lot of good people who did the work. Let's see what we can do for them as well."

In a letter to community leaders, police Chief Jeffrey Kennedy cited the performance of fire departments, as well as the Carnegie police and Public Works departments for securing the scene.

"The Carnegie Fire Department, along with fire departments from Bridgeville, Crafton, Glendale, Mt. Lebanon, Presto and Rennerdale deserved outstanding recognition for the way they fought this fire," he wrote.

He also acknowledged Carnegie police Officer Cory Peterson, who evacuated many tenants from the building and recognized Lt. David Murray of the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department for pulling a tenant from an apartment on the third floor while on an aerial truck. …

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