Fire destroys Armstrong County tavern
Fire destroyed the former Greendale Tavern and Bowling Lanes in Valley Township shortly after it was burglarized just before midnight Monday.
“There was a theft between 11 p.m. and midnight,” state police Fire Marshal John Corna said. “The guy walks in, steals a cash register, and, shortly after that, the building is on fire.”
The cause of the fire that left the business at 10631 Route 85 smoldering Tuesday morning is under investigation. Damage from the fire caused the insured building to be declared a total loss, Corna said. But fire officials hoped to salvage a computer hard drive from the building to aid in their investigation.
Video surveillance footage sent to the owner’s cell phone captured an image of the burglary suspect, Corna said. The suspect was wearing glasses, had a hood over his head and may have been wearing a mask. He entered through an unlocked door while the business was open and while the owner, Clyde Brown of Kittanning, and a bartender were busy cleaning up for the night, police said.
The business, about three miles west of Rural Valley in Armstrong County, was renamed CB’s Clubhouse this year when it was purchased by Brown. Signs bearing its former name still stood outside the charred ruins as firefighters doused the last of the flames about 7:30 a.m.
“I had parties booked through January,” Brown said this morning as he watched his building collapse. “There will be a lot of disappointed people.”
Firefighters said the building was engulfed in flames when they arrived shortly after 3:30 a.m.
“When we came up through the hollow, the whole place was lit up,” Chief Hen Bellas of the Rayburn Volunteer Fire Department said. “There’s not a whole lot left.”
Seven hours later, smoke billowed from the building as fire crews worked to keep it from rekindling.
“We had fire companies coming from everywhere bringing water in,” Bellas said. “It will be burning for a while.”
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].