Building owner speaks out after flames engulf business, apartments

Local News

HUNTINGDON, Pa. (WTAJ) — Nearly 10 people in Huntingdon are without a home on Monday as a fire tore through their apartment complex early Sunday morning.

Mike and Tracy Handy have owned M&T Vacuum Systems and the building it resides in for more than a decade. Seeing their livelihood engulfed in flames left them numb and overwhelmed.

“Going through the shock of seeing the scenes and the smells and the lights and sirens and so forth,” Mike said. (:05)

Just over 24 hours since his building went up in flames, Handy walked through what’s left of his Washington Street property with fire inspectors and insurance brokers, reliving one of the worst days of his life.

“Still in shock. Still didn’t really take it all in. It’s just gonna be a process we gotta work through,” he said.

Handy said all seven of their tenants, and another tenant in the attached building, on the second floor escaped the flames unharmed, but one resident barely make it out of their apartment in time.

“One of our tenants had seconds, if not minutes and the roof would’ve fell on a mattress and she would’ve been trapped,” he told us. (:06)

Fire inspectors said the cause of the fire is inconclusive and will take time to investigate.

Even though his store front remains closed, Handy said they’re working to keep the business up and running.

“The stores in rambles right now, but the people behind the store and the service and the technical stuff we’re still around. We’ll try to make it happen for you,”he said.

Handy said he wants to remind everyone about the importance of smoke detectors. He told us everybody got out of the building safely because all of the alarms had fresh batteries in them and were going off.

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