SCRANTON — At least two buildings were involved in a fire in Scranton Tuesday night.
Fire officials said 11 people lived at the apartment house on Church Avenue. All got out safely after the house went up in flames around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Fire officials say the building will have to be torn down but first fire inspectors have more work to do to figure out what caused the fire.
One by one, the residents of the apartment house showed up to see what was salvageable, finding very little. Parts of the building weren’t safe for people to go inside.
Neighbors also came by to take a look in the daylight. Each one remembered the fire starting around 9 p.m. with what sounded like an explosion.
“Her two brothers were riding their pedal bikes around this area right before it got dark, and they heard a ‘baboom’!” said Linda White.
It was a sound like fireworks before the flames started. The sound didn’t seem unusual to Erin Baldwin, given the time of year.
“I heard the popping and then i saw the flashing lights and all of a sudden I looked outside. They stopped right out here at the side of the house, and I thought, ‘Why are they stopping here? What’s going on?’ I came to the front door and all I saw were flames already coming out of the roof of the house.”
The flames filled the apartment house and eventually spread to the home next door causing serious damage. Fire inspectors are still trying to figure out what sparked it all.
Firefighters say they know that the fire started somewhere between the two houses, possibly on a covered staircase going up to the second floor apartments.
A neighbor told Newswatch 16 a resident on the third floor had to jump to safety. A dog belonging to another resident died.
Fire officials say the apartment house will have to be torn down. Until then, neighbors say it will remind them of how quickly life can change.
“Yeah, especially since I just recently closed on my house right here. Not the best sight for a first time homeowner, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Vincent Quiles of Scranton.
“It makes me realize that you never know what you have until you lose and you’re like, ‘I don’t have nothing no more,’” said Lisa Bogaski of Scranton.
Scranton fire inspectors say they still have more work to do before they can come up with a cause for the fire.
Some of the victims tell us that the 11 people who lived there are either staying in hotels or with friends and family.