National Clothesline
Committed to rebuilding after fire
A devastating fire that started the evening of Nov. 12 and burned through the night left a building housing two western Pennsylvania cleaning businesses a total loss.
Owners of the two North Huntington, PA, businesses — The Joseph Krow Co. and ImageFIRST — vowed to rebuild and come back stronger than ever. In the meantime, they made plans to continue servicing customers.
“In the wake of the unfortunate events that transpired, the Joseph Krow Co. is committed to providing uninterrupted service to our customers by partnering with local affiliates during the time we rebuild,” said Steven Rudick, owner of The Joseph Krow Co.
Rudick said another cleaning plant that he had closed two years ago still had equipment in it so it can be used in the meantime.
David Rosenblatt is the owner of the building and of ImageFIRST. He said ImageFIRST obtains orders for The Joseph Krow Co., including linens and scrubs for area medical facilities. The facility processes 40,000 pounds of linens per week. The Joseph Krow Co. also offers specialty cleaning and repairs for leathers, suedes, furs, wedding gowns and other garments.
Two firefighters were injured battling the blaze but none of the approximate 200 employees were hurt since the last shift of the day had ended at 4 p.m. The flames were first spotted about 8 p.m. The Westmoreland County Hazmat Team was on the scene, along with at least a dozen fire departments.
“The Joseph Krow Company is proud of the impact it has on the region as one of the largest employers and is looking forward to welcoming its experienced team back to service our customers,” Rudick said in his statement to the press.
He said he is focused on getting the workforce back and the company’s 4,200 customers serviced minimizing the interruption.
Many of the employees have worked there for years and were shocked to see the devastation when they showed up for work Monday morning.
John S. Calio, a driver for ImageFIRST, told the McKeesport Daily News that he found out about the fire when he came to work Monday morning.
“I didn’t see any flames, (only) smoke,” Calio said. “I really had no idea. You could tell there was something on fire, but I couldn’t tell it was this building here. As I parked my vehicle I started to see employees coming in, and they had no idea either.”
“I’ve been here for 30 years and this is like my family gone,” employee Pat Cimba told a television news reporter.
In an email posted on the industry’s Fabricare Forum, Rudick wrote, “I want to thank the countless emails and phone calls that I have received. This tragedy is not only structural but emotional.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.