Building condemned following tractor-trailer, train collision in Blawnox - FoxChapel

Building condemned following tractor-trailer, train collision in Blawnox

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 12:46 PM

A classic car warehouse owned by Tower Auto was condemned Feb. 12, a day after piles of rebar spiraled into the building as a result of a train wreck in Blawnox.

The driver of a tractor-trailer narrowly escaped injury when the train hit the truck about 11 a.m. at the Center Avenue and Fourth Street crossing.

“I heard the train, the whistle and then a boom,” said Jerry Michak, who lives about two streets from the rail lines. “Then my power went out.”

Fire Chief George McBriar said the trailer was hauling more than 47,000 pounds of steel when it stopped on the tracks. When the train hit it, the load was propelled into the air. It pulled down power lines and landed in nearby warehouses that line the tracks.

“The impact ripped the whole back end of the trailer off,” McBriar said.

The owner of Tower Auto, whose inventory includes classic cars, was not available for comment.

Blawnox Manager Kathy Ulanowicz said the borough’s building inspector was on-site to gauge the impact to several properties and determined a nearby garage was also uninhabitable.

“We’re thankful no one was hurt,” she said. “We’re also appreciative of how everyone worked so well together to get this cleanup going.”

About 2,600 Duquesne Light customers were without power for about an hour after the crash, said Hollie Geitner, communications director for the utility. Crews restored electric shortly after noon, she said.

Crews from Blawnox, Aspinwall, Fox Chapel and O’Hara responded.