Penn Hills Fire Chief Faults Peoples Gas For Shopping Center Fire

Jul 29, 2019

A western Pennsylvania fire chief is faulting a utility company's response to a shopping center fire near Pittsburgh that destroyed several businesses and injured a number of firefighters.

Chief Bill Jeffcoats of the Penn Hills fire department said Peoples Natural Gas didn't get gas service shut off for about five hours after the blaze at Churchill Center was reported at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that "There's no amount of water we could put on the fire when it's fed by natural gas."

Utility spokesman Barry Kukovich said two of the three lines were shut down quickly but the third was harder to locate and shutting it off was delayed due to the emergency equipment and the "significant amount of water" used to fight the fire.