A Pennsylvania swimming pool store was destroyed in a massive fire that broke out on November 22.
Allegheny County fire crews were called to respond to a 4-alarm blaze that broke out at around 2 p.m. at Country Pools & Spas in Harrison Township.
The owner of the business, Col. John Placek, has owned the location for 23 years, but he was philosophical about the loss of his business.
“It’s sad that it burnt down, but you know, we can always rebuild and we will rebuild and we’ll be bigger and better,” Placek said.
Residents within half a mile of the location were told to evacuate the area due to the chemicals that were burning.
According to Harrison Hills Volunteer Fire Chief James Bartolovich. “It takes the element to a different level because now you’re dealing with a hazardous materials incident and not a structure fire incident.”
Bartolovich said the business owners were switching from summer chemicals to winter chemicals so it was not clear exactly what chemicals were inside the building.
Known chemicals on site were chlorine, acid, and propane.
Hazmat, the Allegheny fire marshal, and the Department of Environmental Protection were sent to the scene.
Amy Nauph, whose mother lives close to the store, said her mother said it was crazy to witness the fire. “She couldn’t believe it. She said there was all kinds of booms.”
Danny Parise, who lives about 500 feet away from the store in the Pine Ridge Heights Apartments, was also witness to the fire.
“It was hard to breathe after a
Country P& S Fire, Harrison, PA. Credit: Triblive.com while,” Parise said. “Burning your throat, and then burning your eyes and nose. There were all kind of big black smoke and the fire coming out and all that stuff, and then you could smell the chlorine and stuff burning.”
No injuries were reported, and there was no word on what caused the fire.
Placek said he is thankful for the work of the fire department and is happy no one was hurt.
“These people are magnificent,” he said.
He plans to reopen his business at the beginning of March, in time for the next swim season.