Neighbors Evacuate Homes Near Fire

JESSUP — Residents of a housing development near a fire at an industrial site were asked to leave their homes as  crews fought the fire.

Jessup Family Housing is separated from Scranton Cooperage by a chain link fence and about 100 yards.

The scene has drastically here just within the last half hour. The billows of smoke have changed from black to white.

Around 3:30 p.m. police began evacuating the apartments, asking residents to leave or gather in the complex’s community center.

Residents say they saw huge billows of black smoke over the top of the trees.

Through the trees you could see flames sometimes a story high. Residents also said at points they could smell a strong odor of burning plastic. That’s what prompted police to evacuate this area.

When the flames were at their worst you could also hear small explosions from inside the cooperage.

“They told is we had to get out of here and meet up at the community center because it’s not under control yet, and the barrels keep blowing up,” said an apartment resident.

It’s a sound residents said they’ve heard before when the cooperage had smaller fires in the past. The bangs are believed to be barrels of chemicals exploding from the heat of the fire.

While most families left, some residents stayed to wait for their families or to watch the billows of smoke tower over their homes.

“I’m just basically waiting back far enough for my fiancée to get home that we can leave together instead of me leaving by myself and waiting for her to worry about where I’m at,” said Shaun Schneider.

Fire crews have been called to Jessup Family Housing where they are on standby for other crews on the scene. There is no word yet on when the residents here will be allowed back in their homes.

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