South Side fire destroys historic building, Welcome Center, shop and six apartments
February 23, 2021
The South Side Chamber of Commerce opened the Welcome Center at 1100 E. Carson Street in 2013. Since then, it has served as the Chamber's headquarters and a central location for many community volunteers.
The Welcome Center not only featured a custom-made street map of the South Side Flats on one wall, but also framed logos of Chamber members and sponsors. Visitors to the neighborhood could pick up information concerning local businesses and VisitPittsburgh materials.
Although the firefighters and other first responders were there quickly and everyone was evacuated safely the building and all it contained was lost.
In a statement from the Board of Directors of the South Side Chamber of Commerce:
"We are deeply grateful to the brave first responders, all of the firefighters, police officers and paramedics. They came from all parts of the City and evacuated the Welcome Center and all of the other building occupants. They fought hard to save our building and protect the building around it. We are thankful that our neighbor barbers at J's Master Barber Shop and all of our other building residents escaped safely. We are heartbroken for our building owner, our neighborhood, and for ourselves to have lost this historic South Side architectural treasure."
The Chamber has arranged for temporary office space and will keep Executive Director Candice Gonzalez while they maintain member operations. Plans call for continuing their signature fundraising events, advocating for businesses, supporting neighborhood initiatives and operating the Chamber Clean Team.
However, the fire not only claimed the Chamber's headquarters, but two floors of office equipment and special fundraising materials.
As a membership organization, joining the Chamber is one of the best ways to help. For more information on the Chamber, or how to become a member, visit: http://www.southsidechamber.org. On their webpage there is also a link to donate: http://bit.ly/2ZfY5wf.
Gofundme campaigns have also been created to help J's Master Barbershop and residents of the upstairs apartments. The J's Master Barbershop campaign is at: http://bit.ly/3tWQd0Q
The gofundme for the residents is at: http://bit.ly/3al8ey6