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Mayor Ed Gainey signs emergency declaration following 2nd Avenue Commons fire

Mayor Gainey signs emergency declaration following 2nd Avenue fire
Mayor Gainey signs emergency declaration following 2nd Avenue fire 00:20

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - On Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey signed a declaration of disaster emergency in response to the fire and condemnation of the 2nd Avenue Commons Shelter. 

Mayor Gainey's signing of the declaration will direct Pittsburgh's chief of emergency management, director of city planning, and director of permits, licenses & inspections to coordinate and take the actions necessary. They also will be able to address the immediate need for temporary shelter for the residents impacted by the fire. 

"Expediting the repair and reopening of the 2nd Avenue Commons is critical for the health and safety of some of our most vulnerable residents," said Mayor Gainey. "This order will ensure that we are able to move with the speed required to meet this moment in order to return this critical piece of our health and human services infrastructure to operation."  

The full declaration can be read on the city's website at this link

Fire at 2nd Avenue Commons displaces nearly 200

Around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a fire broke out at the shelter, prompting a heavy response from police and fire departments. 

The 180 people who were living there were evacuated, and Pittsburgh Regional Transit helped transport people to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for emergency shelter.

Officials say the fire started on the roof in an air conditioning unit. The flames caused a lot of damage to the roof, and black smoke could be seen Downtown. The fire was knocked out quickly. 

"It's heavy damage up there on that top floor and on the roof area. It breached the windows, so there was smoke and everything pouring into the building. We shut off the utilities," Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones said. 

2nd Avenue Commons residents left asking questions

Days after the fire displaced the residents, they are still looking for answers as well as a place to stay

Utilities have been turned off at Allegheny County's primary shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The utilities are shut off for safety reasons while fire damage is assessed and inspections are completed.

Allegheny County Human Services is working to find more permanent locations where people can stay. The emergency shelter will remain open for a couple of days.

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