A strange looking building in downtown Pittsburgh with a smoke stack and a story to tell

Photo credit PACT Web Site
Thousands of people go by this strange looking building and smoke stack  along Fort Duquesne Blvd. on a daily basis and never give it a second thought  but it serves an important function and also saw a drama play out which would result in the rewarding of the Carnegie Heroes medal to a smoke stack worker who saved a fellow worker.

Once much taller when the smoke stack burned coal Now of days it burns Oil or Natural Gas this was one of 2 plants that produced steam to heat buildings and there hot water systems in the down town area.  which where once known as Allegheny County Steam Heat Company which was a subsidiary of Duquesne Light Company .


Back in the day it was much more pollution wise and economic wise to have centralized steam provided by one stack instead of several hundred separate operating coal fired  boilers .

But as time and technology rolls on it became cheaper for some buildings to go it on there own and install there own boilers and disconnect from the system which ended up being rescued and now operates as a non profit   Pittsburgh  Allegheny County Thermal. Ltd.

How ever the real story of this building goes way back to 1948when the stack and building where being being repaired and scaffolding collapsed and involved tremendous courage and heroics by one of the workers to save another several hundred feet up in the air Which resulted in the awarding of the Carnegie hero medal 

The rescue is unbelievable when a boatswain  chair collapsed and a worker from Avalon Ross Chapman  hanging by one leg on one rung of a ladder  rescued a fellow worker.

Ironically he saved the same worker Samuel Hopkins   years earlier in a flag pole mishap on a different job site on Private  Brunot Island which Duquesne Light maintains a large power plant .

While never considering himself a hero Mr. Chapman surely was.