HAZLE TOWNSHIP — A fire in Luzerne County damaged a business early Tuesday morning and officials believe it was intentionally set.
Flames destroyed a trailer at Rossi Coal Company along Route 93 near Hazleton. Officials believe it broke out around 2:30 a.m.
It tore through one of the company’s office buildings, damaging files and paperwork.
And while the fire is still under investigation, authorities say they have reason to believe this was no accident.
Drawer after drawer of documents are now trash after a fire tore through one of Leonard Rossi’s offices. He and his father have run Rossi Coal Company along Route 93 near Hazleton for 20 years.
“Total heartbreak,” said Rossi. “You remember when you put things in there. You remember when you worked hard to purchase the office, all the office equipment.”
Pictures from the Hazle Township fire chief show how intense the fire was when he responded around 3 a m. Tuesday.
Once the fire was out, investigators spent hours sifting through damage.
While the fire marshal takes a look at the gutted building, state police are also investigating another building, which they found was broken into, and they don’t think it’s a coincidence.
“It appeared that it started just inside a door and then obviously when you have a building right next to it that was broken into, suspicion remains high,” said Hazle Township Fire Chief Scott Kostician.
Chief Kostician says he believes the fire in the office was set.
The fire damaged the electrical system that powers the company’s coal scale. Now, Leonard Rossi doesn’t know how he’ll continue working.
“It’s kind of hard to stay in business today. I have to try to come up with another way to get my scale repaired and get it operating again.”
“It’s a shame,” said Chief Kostician. “It’s a big tragedy and a loss for them, and it makes them sleep very uneasy now with this happening to them.”
Rossi says he feels violated and hopes investigators can figure out what happened.
“The area did get very bad lately. It’s not the place I grew up in.”
The state police fire marshal still hasn’t determined the cause of the fire. He expects to be back at the scene Wednesday.
The owner of the Rossi Coal Company says he doesn’t know why anyone would target his business.
State police are reviewing surveillance video.