Funeral home fire still under investigation

Funeral home fire still under investigation

Saturday’s fire at the Burton Hirsch funeral home in Squirrel Hill has left many questions unanswered.
As of Tuesday afternoon, most of those questions remained unanswered.
No cause has been determined, and while investigators and insurance adjusters examine the building, nothing will be announced for quite some time.
“The fire department has not yet released the building, nor have they concluded their investigation,” said Wayne Tago, market director for Service Corporation International, the parent company of the funeral home.
Tago said that they have several options regarding the future of the funeral home, but they do plan to reopen.
“It is our intention to carry the Hirsch name on,” he said. “It could be at this location, it could be at another location. We have not yet made that determination. It’s hard to make a decision when the adjustors haven’t been through and we don’t know what the cause was.”
The damage to the building was extensive — only a small addition survived the three-alarm blaze. The Pittsburgh Fire Department released a statement saying the damages came to approximately $250,000.
However, Mimi Maizlech, an administrator for Burton Hirsch, doesn’t know how the fire department arrived at that figure.
“That’s a bizarre amount,” she said. “Nobody knows what is in the building.”
Maizlech said she was relieved that no bodies were in the building at the time of the fire.
It will still take a few days to determine what started the blaze that took down a Pittsburgh landmark.
“Hirsch funeral home has been not only a landmark in this community, but has serviced this community for many years,” Tago said. “It is our desire to continue that good will.”

(Mike Zoller can be reached at

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