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South Side Building Partially Collapses During 4-Alarm Fire On East Carson Street

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The side of a historic building on Pittsburgh's South Side collapsed as crews battled a large four-alarm fire Monday.

The building on the 1100 block of East Carson Street partially collapsed shortly after 4 p.m. after firefighters doused the building with water.

KDKA's Nicole Ford reports councilman Bruce Kraus, who represents this district, was actually standing there as it collapsed. He said it took his breath away.

"The people that built it and the industry that built it, the steel mills, the glass mills, it's a piece of history that is lost and will never be replaced. It's absolutely heartbreaking," said Kraus.

Now Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich says it'll come down Tuesday morning. Until further notice, East Carson is closed between 10th and 12th Streets and people are urged to avoid the area. Crews will be on the scene overnight to monitor the building.

WATCH: KDKA's Nicole Ford Reports

The fully-engaged fire happened at a restored turn-of-the-century building that's "at least" 130-years-old. There were six apartments and two businesses in the building.

The South Side Chamber of Commerce and a barbershop that's closed on Mondays are on the ground floor. Above the street level, it's two sections of apartments on the second, third and fourth floors.

Rebecca Kasavich, the vice president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, said two employees were working when the fire started.

"This is a devastating loss for us. For the chamber and the community as a whole," said Kassavich.

east carson street fire (1)
(Photo: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith)

One of the barbers told Nicole Ford that there are two, skinny row houses inside the one building. That's why one of the sides collapsed. He says he's nervous about what comes next, knowing that there isn't a barbershop to come back to tomorrow.

"We just got back a couple weeks ago. This is ridiculous now that we probably won't be able to work. But the most important thing is that what we have been told is everybody got out safely. And that's all that matters, truthfully. I mean, yeah, our livelihood and all that is in there, but as long as everyone that lived up top and all our barbers weren't in there cutting -- that's all that matters," said barber Joshua Perrone.

When the fire broke out, smoke from the blaze could be seen across the city.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan was told firefighters initially went into the building and up to the third floor, where the fire apparently started, in an attempt to smother the flames. But the fire got out of control. The firefighters were called out and they started to battle it from the outside.

east carson street fire
(Photo: Alivia Montgomery)

People who saw the firefighters enter the building tell KDKA the scene was "wild" and "crazy." They saw the firefighters on the third floor and saw them escape just before that floor apparently collapsed.

WATCH: KDKA's Andy Sheehan reports

"It's a shame. It seems like such an old building. I mean, it's got a lot of history there. Pretty sad to see it burn down right on East Carson Street," one bystander said.

There were, fortunately, no injuries and the fire is under investigation. The American Red Cross is helping eight people who were displaced.

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