Pittsburgh Warehouse Fire Doused



Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at a vacant warehouse in Pittsburgh's South Side Tuesday morning.

Emergency dispatchers said flames broke out just after 3 a.m. in the 1500 block of West Carson Street.

Police closed off access to that section of West Carson Street and shut down the ramp off the Fort Pitt Bridge while firefighters fought off the flames.

Carson Street remains closed between the Fort Pitt Bridge and the West End Circle.

"The front of the building is a four-story brick building. It's ready to collapse, so obviously we don't want cars passing in front of that building if it does collapse," said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Crawford.

Zone 3 officers established a "collapse zone" on the scene to keep emergency crews safe and out of harm's way in case one of the warehouses came down.

Channel 4 Action News' Janelle Hall reported that Carson Street may remain closed in the area for most of the day, until fire crews are able to secure the building, or bring it down safely.

"I would anticipate the structural integrity of this building is compromised and a building collapse is imminent," said Sgt. Stephen Matakovich earlier in the morning.

The fire was finally brought under control shortly before 7 a.m. Despite the intensity of the flames, as of that time the structure was still standing.

"I would probably say, based on the fact that these buildings are so old, is one of the reasons why it is still standing," said Sgt. Matakovich. "Maybe if it was more of a modern building, materials they use nowadays may have collapsed sooner. But the fact these were built so long ago is the reason why it's still up."

No injuries were reported and crews at the scene told Hall the building was vacant.

Officers also told Hall that the buildings at the scene, including the one that burned, may have been storage units. There were also reports that an investor might have been planning to purchase one of the buildings and turn it into a nightclub.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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