SCRANTON — More than 30 residents of a high-rise apartment building in Scranton have been out of their homes, after flames swept through the place Sunday.
The fire at the United House Apartments chased from their homes many elderly residents, as well as some others with physical and mental disabilities.
A manager for United House Apartments told Newswatch 16 electricity had to be shut off in half of the building, but that power should be back by Monday night.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s fire, residents said they’ll be looking at the building’s safety procedures just in case something like this ever happens again.
From the outside, the damage at the apartment building in Scranton looks pretty superficial. The eighth floor apartment where firefighters say it all started is missing its windows. But, residents said the water damage got to just about every floor below.
Then, there was the logistics of it all. Residents who didn’t have damage to their own apartments were still shaken up. About 90 residents, many of them disabled, had to leave when the fire broke out.
“Before the firefighters got here, people who are able to walk better were helping them come down because a lot of them didn’t know what to do, when the alarm started rolling they were just wandering,” said resident Cesar Rossi.
The fire started Sunday morning. Fire investigators say it was sparked by some kind of electrical problem. The entire building had to be evacuated. Some residents needed help from firefighters.
Most of the residents were let back in. But, 36 of them had to spend the night someplace else while crews cleaned up and got the power back on. Managers said a shelter was set up nearby, but it wasn’t needed. Those 36 people stayed with neighbors or with family.
In the aftermath, Rossi and other residents say they plan to meet with management to see if there’s a safer way to evacuate if this ever happens again.
“It was pretty crazy, this is my first time experiencing something like this. But, everyone did good work the fire department, they were very friendly,” Rossi said.
Residents told Newswatch 16 they’re supposed to have a meeting this week to talk about building safety. No one was hurt during the ordeal Sunday.