Firefighters Called to Vacant Building Fire

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SHAMOKIN -- A vacant building in Northumberland County was hit by fire early Thursday.

The three-story building at the intersection of East Sunbury Street and North Shamokin Street in Shamokin caught fire around 4:30 a.m., according to authorities.

Firefighters in Shamokin sifted through what was left inside after the fire. Investigators are trying to figure out why flames broke out at the building.

"There was a witness who observed three people in the area of the building. We're not sure if it's related to the fire, however, they were seen running away from the building," said Raymond Siko, a fire investigator.

It is the third time in the past five months a vacant building caught fire on Shamokin Street. Four apartments were heavily damaged by smoke and flames in September.

It has people in the neighborhood feeling unsettled.

"It's pretty serious. The whole row could go up, and it would take out all the houses in the whole block," said Charles Reidler.

"It does concern me because I do have a lot of inventory in here. Not only that, I just started here two years ago and it really kicked off. I hate for that to happen," said Marilyn Fidler.

Marilyn Fidler and her husband David own two businesses across the street from where the fires were. They said it is too close for comfort.

"I upped the insurance on the building here. I'm here 12 years and the last two years have really been bad," said David Fidler.

Many of the fires in the area over the past couple of months have been at vacant buildings. The business owners Newswatch 16 spoke with said they would like to see more done about abandoned properties in Shamokin.

"They need to enforce the laws. The laws are in effect but they need to enforce them," said David.

Investigators said the utilities inside the building were turned off. Crews are still trying to figure out what caused all the recent fires on Shamokin Street.