No one hurt in Clairton fire
A street rumored to have haunted houses had a lot of activity Thursday, as firefighters took on a row of abandoned homes along Lincoln Way in Clairton.
Allegheny County dispatchers were alerted at 11:34 a.m. about the blaze engulfing a duplex and a single-family house.
“It started in the middle,” Clairton fire Chief Joseph Lazur said. “Every house down here is vacant, so we are going to let them burn.”
In fact, the fire chief said, every house is on the Clairton city demolition list.
“Now they can come down here with a bulldozer and be done with it,” Lazur said.
Firefighters assisting Clairton's volunteers included companies from Elizabeth, Glassport and Jefferson Hills. No injuries were reported.
“We're protecting the woodline,” Lazur said, referring to a wooded hillside between the fire scene and homes on Massachusetts Avenue. “We have a good water supply.”
A deputy county fire marshal was on the scene, while police and other first responders closed off Route 837 between Coal Valley Road and the Clairton-Glassport Bridge for much of Thursday afternoon.
The destroyed structures are among multiple vacant houses along a narrow street that has its juncture with Route 837 near the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 803.
“This one is the last to go vacant, three years ago,” Lazur said, pointing to a relatively intact house at the corner of Lincoln Way and North State Street (Route 837).
According to a January article about “The Eerie Abandoned Neighborhood of Lincoln Way” on architecturalafterlife.com, at least one house has been vacant since 1972.
The article focused on an urban legend, the reputed sighting of some sort of creature amid those abandoned homes, and past fires including a series of blazes in 2006.
Another article at guides.wikinut.com suggests Lincoln Way is “a creepy eyesore filled with mystery and paranormal activity.”
Another online article calls Clairton “a semi-ghost” town “so full of abandoned and crumbling buildings that it merits as one of the best ghostly towns in Western Pennsylvania.”
Lazur is a veteran firefighter in Clairton, including 14 years as an assistant chief. He is a rookie chief, elected in February by other volunteers to succeed longtime Chief John Lattanzi.
Lazur said Lattanzi remains in an administrative role as business manager back at the city's fire hall.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or [email protected].