UPDATE: Body Found In Lycoming County
WILLIAMSPORT — The body of woman was discovered Thursday at a former manufacturing plant in Lycoming County, according to police.
Emergency crews were called to the Pajama Factory on Memorial Avenue in Williamsport before 10 a.m. Thursday. When they got there, officials said responders found the body of Regina Lapp, 22, of South Williamsport in a bed in a second floor art studio.
Williamsport fire and codes officials had planned to inspect the building anyway after being tipped off that people were living in the former Raytowne complex illegally.
“There are no approved living apartments in this building, if there was a structure fire, we’d be unaware of anyone living in the building,” said Chief Dean Heinbach of Williamsport Bureau of Fire.
Fire officials tell Newswatch 16 the Pajama Factory is not entirely up to code and because the place is considered commercial, anyone living there is living there illegally.
“There are no habitable occupancies in this building.”
Matthew Dempsey lives and makes art inside one of the nine buildings that makes up the Pajama Factory and says the owner of the complex is in the process of making some spaces residential.
“The idea is they’re fixing it as they can as the first floor rented out, they can renovate the second floor,” said Dempsey.
“We’re trying to build a cool thing here for the community and for ourselves,” said yoga instructor Mathias Murtorff.
The owner of a yoga studio inside the complex said the young woman’s death upstairs is an isolated incident and hopes it doesn’t ruin the effort to make the Pajama Factory a place for artists and businesses to thrive.
Neighbors, however, feel differently about the word from officials that people have been living there illegally.
“I hope they lock the doors and make sure it’s secured so this don’t happen to somebody else,” said Debbie Graybill.
The owner of the Pajama Factory released a statement today.
First and foremost, our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. It is an unbearable loss to the community.
This morning’s discovery at the Pajama Factory has raised the issue of whether or not tenants are living in the building. While we hope to offer live/work spaces in the future as part of our development plans, the Pajama Factory currently offers strictly commercial leases. With the exception of one City-approved security professional, the Pajama Factory does not allow tenants to live on-site. We operate a secure, flexible, creative environment in which tenants have 24/7 access to their work studios.
The professional staff of the Pajama Factory has been and will continue to cooperate fully with the Williamsport Bureaus of Police, Fire, and Codes as we continue to develop, improve and restore the property.
- Mark Winkleman
Fire and codes officials said Winkleman could face possible violations and fines.
As for the young woman found dead inside, the coroner said an autopsy could be done as soon as Friday to find out what led to Regina Lapp’s death.