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Fire guts Kittanning auto body products business headquartered in Butler

February 20, 2020 News Extra

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The state police fire marshal was to begin an investigation into a Wednesday night blaze that gutted an auto parts and supply business in downtown Kittanning that is headquartered in Butler.

The fire at API Autobody Products on South Water Street, however, is not believed to be suspicious, authorities said.

As many as 100 firefighters from seven departments battled the blaze, which took about 90 minutes to contain. No one was injured.

“It looks and appears to have started at the center of the structure,” Gene Stephens, chief of the Kittanning Hose, Hook & Ladder Company 1, said Thursday morning.

An office area is located in the center of the 60-foot-by-100 foot heavy steel pole building with beams and topped with a concrete roof.

Stephens described the damage as a “total loss.” The property was insured authorities said.

The family owned and operated paint, body and equipment distributor was founded in Butler in 1968. It has 24 locations that service both wholesale and walk-in customers across Western Pennsylvania, Northeast Ohio and Southwest New York.

The fire call came in about 9:20 p.m. at the structure just two blocks from the Kittanning 1 fire station.

“As soon as we got on the truck and pulled out, we could see smoke showing already,” Stephens said.

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