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Gulf Tower Condemned By City Of Pittsburgh Inspectors Following Electrical Fire Last Month

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's been almost two weeks since fire sent smoke out of the top of the Gulf Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. Now, there is a condemnation notice on the building, posted by the city's Office of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections.

Gulf Tower Condemned
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer)

According to property owners, Rugby Realty, the wrecking ball won't be bringing the building down anytime soon.

"It just gives the property owner the notice that they need to do the necessary repairs in order to reoccupy the building," Rugby Realty Chief Operating Officer Larry Walsh said.

It was back on May 19 that smoke could be seen pouring out of the iconic downtown building.

Rugby Realty said most of the damage was done in the sun-basement, which houses several systems including the electric.

"We have in excess of 200 people working around the clock to get it open as quickly as possible. What it ends up costing will be what it is. It's not a matter of what I'm concerned about," Walsh said.


(Photo Credit: Chris Hoffman/KDKA)

Fire investigators said the smoke went through a ventilation shaft before flowing out the top.

Walsh said that caused some cosmetic damage.

"The residue you get from smoke and maybe an odor, but they've deodorized all that now," Walsh said.

Pittsburgh Public Safety said the cause was the failure of secondary phase of buildings electrical system. At this point, there is no word on how much the repairs will cost or when they will be done.

"We're still evaluating all the different parts of the systems in the event, and trying to evaluate the lead time on some of those parts," Walsh said. "We're just doing everything we can to get the building back open as quickly as possible."

He said Rugby Realty is trying to get their 40 tenants into other buildings, including the nearby Frick Building and neighboring Koppers Building.

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