Fire Damages Business in Lackawanna County

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COVINGTON TOWNSHIP -- A well-known business in Lackawanna County was hit by fire Saturday night, but hours later, work was already underway to try to repair the damage.

Heavy machinery removed fire debris while crews worked on the roof at Ace Hardware in the Daleville area, hours after flames damaged the store.

"I think it`s amazing. We expected to see devastation, but instead it looks like they`re already going to have it up and running fast. It`s amazing," said customer Kathy Huber of Gouldsboro.

Firefighters were called to the store around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Covington Township fire chief said crews got there within five minutes, but it took two hours to get some of the flames under control.

Officials said the fire appears to have started in the front entrance area and was ruled electrical.

People who live in the area said the store is a community staple and loyal customers hope it reopens quickly.

"We come here at least once a week for something. They have things that nobody else has sometimes. So it`s a great place to come and it`s very convenient," said Kathy Huber.

"This is about the only option. Otherwise you have to go down to Mount Pocono, or you have to go up to Scranton. Mount Pocono is about 15 miles away, and Scranton`s 20 miles," added Phil Huber. "I come here a lot for grass seed and fertilizer and other things for the house, so I hope they get it up and running in a couple of days."

Vinny Guarcello saw the flames Saturday night. He has been a customer for 20 years and said he has never forgotten his first time at the store.

"We were shopping and we had $70-80 worth of stuff in our basket and we went to the checkout, and there was a problem with the American Express, and the owner came and he said, 'No problem, take the stuff home. When you come back again, pay us,'" said Guarcello of Gouldsboro. "I`m very glad to see that they`re working very quickly and we hope they get back real soon cause they`re a real good service to this community."

Mendicino's Pizzeria next to Ace had some smoke and water damage, but employees said the restaurant will reopen at 11 a.m. Monday.

As for the hardware store, contractors said the place could open in the coming days.