Belle Vernon, PA Hotel Explosion And Fire, July 1965



A spectacular explosion and fire this morning destroyed the Lynn Plaza Hotel and Cocktail Lounge near Belle Vernon.
Six fire departments battled the blaze for several hours in a vain effort to save the large one-story structure, which was built less than a year ago. One minor injury was reported.
The explosion ripped through the building at about 4:15 a.m., sending flying debris over a wide area.
The walls toppled to the ground. Fragments of brick, tile and lumber shot through the air and caused rather extensive damage to at least two nearby buildings.
A 29-year-old Belle Vernon fire-fighter, RAPHAEL D. NICCOLAI, was injured. He was treated for wrist cuts at 6:10 a.m. at Charleroi-Mosessen Hospital.
JERRY WEISS of Fairhope, owner of the hotel, collapsed while watching the struggle to save his building. He was given sedation and was reported under a doctor's care late this morning.
The initial alarm was heard by Washington Twp. firemen at Fairhope at about 4:20 a.m. They immediately requested aid, which came in the form of volunteers from Fayette City, Belle Vernon, North Belle Vernon, Charleroi and Lock No. 4 at Charleroi.
The tile and brick building, about 40 by 75 feet in size, housed 16 hotel rooms, kitchen, bar, lounge and banquet area. It was located on the Fayette Rd. at Lynnwood, between Fairhope and Belle Vernon.
Firemen said the building was empty at the time of the explosion. Two exterior walls had buckled and collapsed as a result of the blast.
Two nearby structures housing an apartment house and a combination barber and beauty shop were damaged by flying fragments. They were situated about 20 to 25 feet from the burning hotel. Firemen said other private buildings nearby sustained minor damage.
Most of the volunteers secured their equipment at about 7 a.m. Others remained at the scene as late as 10 a.m., pouring water on the burning debris and keeping curious onlookers from coming too close to the scene.
Firemen late this morning said they could offer no theories on the origin of the explosion. MR. WEISS was unavailable for comment and there was no estimate of his loss.

Evening Standard Uniontown Pennsylvania 1965-07-21