Neighbors Concerned After Second Fire In A Month

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MOCANAQUA -- Concerns are being raised in one community in Luzerne County after a second home has been hit by flames in just a month.

The fire chief in Mocanaqua believes the latest fire is suspicious.

Flames could be seen coming from a three-apartment building shot on a cell phone in Mocanaqua.

Fire crews blocked off most of Main Street as several fire companies worked to bring the fire under control.

“The fire department cut holes through the ceiling, through the roof, and the smoke was just coming out. It was thick,” said neighbor Wendy Vencooski.

Mocanaqua Fire Chief Stephen McDaniels said the building is vacant and there was no electricity at the home.  The building was flooded in September 2011 and was expected to be sold in a buyout.

He believes the fire started in the basement and quickly spread through the house to the attic.

Neighbors believe this fire was set.

“To me, it is suspicious because they’re vacant and there’s no power going into them, there’s no nothing going into them,” said neighbor Debbie McDaniels.

Chief McDaniels said this is the second vacant home on Main Street to fall victim to fire.

The home next door to the recent fire is now a pile of burned rubble. That fire was ruled arson.

“About three weeks ago and it’s right next to the house that burned down three weeks ago,” said neighbor Thomas Kubasek.

“We feel someone is deliberately setting the fires,” said Vencooski. “There are still three more empty houses on this street from the flood so everybody’s nervous. We don’t know what else to do.”

The fire chief said he’s concerned as well and is calling in a state police fire marshal to investigate.

“Right now I’m going to go ahead and say it’s probably suspicious at this time, but until the fire marshal comes in and determines that we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Chief McDaniels.

This community is still recovering after the historic floods last September. After a year of getting their homes back together, they fear now they’re dealing with a new threat.

“It’s been a rough year, it’s been a really rough year and they now having to deal with this and having to worry, you know?” said Debbie McDaniels.

The Mocanaqua Fire Chief said the fire marshal will be at the fire scene Tuesday morning.