Fire in Scranton Home Ruled Arson

SCRANTON -- A fire marshal and a fire inspector say a fire at a home in Scranton was intentionally set.

The fire started around 1 a.m. Tuesday at the house in the 500 block of Prospect Avenue.

Four people were inside at the time. All got out safely.

"I saw some orange flickering in the back and then I saw some black smoke behind it, so I come running down the street, calling 911 on my phone," said Brian Shoemaker.

Firefighters say it started in the back of the house, and that's where they used the Scranton Police Department's arson dog "Ember" to sniff out possible accelerants.

Fire inspectors say this is arson and they do not yet have any suspects.

"I was surprised when they told me it was arson, very surprised, thank God, you know, God has his ways," said Audrey Allen of Duryea.

"That's something bad. That's not good. Whoever did that has to pay the consequence," said Juan Ayala of Scranton.

Ayala hoped surveillance cameras on his house could help the investigation. He says three people have been renting the home next door.

"It started around 1 (a.m.) because Toby woke me up," Ayala recalled.

Ayala says when the dog woke him up, he shouted to someone on the street to call 911. Not long after, he heard three explosions.

Audrey Allen was on her way to Prospect Avenue at the time.

"I was on top of the mountain. I could see the black smoke rolling. He was nervous and I didn't really know if it was his house or not because he was so confused. I was just, thank God, that everybody's OK."

The four people who were in the home are staying in a hotel for now. Anyone with information about the arson is asked to call Scranton Police.

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