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Fire-damaged Oakmont asphalt business shaking off the ashes

Jan, 10 2012

(Pittsburgh)  --  Despite a fire in May that ripped through three buildings at A. Folino Construction Inc., the company didn't miss a day of work and will soon rebuild.

The three connected buildings housed a maintenance facility and office space, according to Tony Folino, company president. The property, located along Dark Hollow Road in Oakmont near the borders of Verona and Penn Hills, also is used for parking and storage.

Since the fire, the company has leased space in Verona as a maintenance facility. Office and clerical work have continued at the company's downtown Oakmont office.

The burned buildings were a total loss, so everything was demolished and hauled away.

"We got that taken care of, and now we're ready to go again," Folino said.

The new maintenance facility and offices will be built on the same site. Folino hopes to start construction in February or March with plans to move in by mid to late summer.

"We're looking forward to this year -- moving into a new facility and getting back to where we were prior to the fire," he said.

A. Folino Construction Inc. operates an asphalt-paving business and also does drainage and excavation work. During the summer, the company employs about 150 people.

Thick, black smoke rose from the mid-afternoon fire in late May. Neighbors reported hearing explosions at the time.

The county fire marshal's office investigated and determined the fire was accidental.

According to Don Brucker, chief deputy fire marshal, the blaze was caused by a worker who was cutting or grinding metal, causing sparks to ignite flammable liquid vapors nearby.

There were five or six people working at the building at the time, Folino said. Nobody was injured.

"Thank God, nobody got hurt," he said.

Folino lauded employees for stepping up and keeping operations going.

"(We) didn't miss a beat," he said, "didn't miss a day's work."

By Rossilynne Skena

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