July 06--AMBRIDGE -- Several departments battled flames for several hours before a fire in the 500 block of Merchant Street was finally quelled Sunday.
The fire, which started at 530 Merchant St., spread to a nearby tanning salon and Anderson's Candies before finally being contained.
Pete Galvan, 63, of Ambridge, was in a store across the street from the site when he and a friend first noticed smoke.
"One of my lady friends said, 'Is that smoke?'" Galvan said. "I said, 'Yeah, that's smoke,' so she called 911."
The fire was reported at 10:35 a.m., a Beaver County emergency dispatcher said.
Ambridge, Harmony Township, Rochester Township, Baden, Conway and Rochester departments all responded.
Harmony Township firefighter Patrick Shearer was one of the first on the scene and pulled a man out of the second floor of the building after entering through a side window.
"We were on the ladder, and we pulled him out from the second floor," Shearer said. "There was heavy black smoke coming out of his window."
Galvan, who personally knows Shearer, saw both men exit the burning building. "Patrick collapsed on the sidewalk to one knee," Galvan said.
Both the man and Shearer were treated for smoke inhalation by Beaver County EMS and were later cleared. After he was cleared, Shearer continued to help in the efforts and said that the flames were finally "under control" after nearly four hours.
The building where the fire started is the site of a former ice cream shop. The flames then spread to the tanning salon before reaching Anderson's Candies, where it was contained for good, officials at the scene said.
"They knew it was going to get worse," Galvan said from a sidewalk nearby after he was evacuated from the site. "I didn't think it was. I thought they were going to get it out (quickly)."
Conway set up an inflatable rehab tent at the corner of Sixth and Merchant streets, where volunteers could cool off and get drinks.
Shop 'n' Save in Harmony, Ambridge's Voccelli Pizza and the Ambridge Family Theatre all supported the volunteers' efforts by providing free drinks, food and access to facilities.
"In my opinion, those firemen and Patrick Shearer are genuine heroes," Galvan said.
The fire is the second this week in Ambridge, after a Mexican restaurant at 282 Fourth St. caught fire on Wednesday. The building was the former site of Rook's East End Saloon, which was owned by former Pirates pitcher Jim Rooker.
The causes of both fires are still unknown.
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