Fire destroys McKeesport garage
The owner of a McKeesport garage says he will pick up the pieces following a fire that damaged his business on Wednesday.
Wade Ancarana pledged Thursday to rebuild his shop, Ancarana Auto Repair on Oakwood Street in the city's Peterson Plan neighborhood.
Officials say the fire started in a Nissan pickup truck parked outside the garage and spread to the building shortly before 5:50 p.m.
“I never even worked on (the truck),” Ancarana said.
The garage owner said he drove the truck a short distance up the street and noticed the engine hesitating, then brought it back and parked it out front.
Ancarana said he went home to cut his grass and planned to work on the truck later. He wasn't home for long when his son called telling him the garage was burning.
McKeesport fire officials said the blaze started in the engine compartment of the Nissan and spread to the front of the garage, where it burned through a bay door. The fire damaged some of the garage's interior, though a Chevy Blazer parked inside appeared mostly unscathed.
A Pontiac Grand Am parked next to the Nissan was burned on the rear passenger side.
A 1964 Chevy Corvette parked in the rear of the garage was removed during the fire with only minimal damage.
Capt. Gene Esken said the fire damaged a rear second-floor addition above the garage that was being used for storage.
Esken said it took crews about an hour to bring the situation under control.
Ancarana's brother, Chris Bailey, was charged by police with disorderly conduct when he attempted to enter the burning garage to help save the Corvette.
Bailey said that when he reached the fire scene, another brother was in the back of the garage trying to push the sports car out of the building.
“I started to go in,” said Bailey, who was ordered to stay back by a police officer. Bailey said when he called out to his brother, a police officer put him in handcuffs and locked him in the back of a hot police car.
Bailey said he saw smoke but no fire when he tried to enter the building.
“I wasn't running into a flaming building,” he said.
Police Chief Bryan Washowich said an incident report indicates Bailey was warned to get back several times before his arrest. Washowich said there was concern that automotive fluids in the garage could cause an explosion.
“We understand that emotions can run high when property is at stake,” he said. “However, preservation of life is paramount.”
Ancarana, who has operated the garage for 40 years, said he didn't have a damage estimate but expected to get one Thursday from insurance investigators.
He said the fire could have been worse and that he's glad no one was injured. Ancarana praised the fire department.
Ancarana was emphatic about his plans to rebuild.
“I'll go nuts if I don't work,” he said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or [email protected].