Blaze Rips Wilkes-Barre Buildings

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An early morning fire lit up the sky over Wilkes-Barre.

That fire destroyed two vacant homes, homes which neighbors said were a big problem.

Investigators are looking for the cause of Tuesday morning's fire that destroyed two vacant homes.

Neighbors are relieved it wasn't worse.

Firefighters found two boarded up and vacant houses burning about 3 a.m. on Academy Street in Wilkes-Barre, between South Franklin and South Main streets.

Bob Moir and his dog Frances live next door. Moir said there were problems there long before the first alarm came in.

"These houses have been a problem for a while and we've been going to the city, trying to get something done," Moir said.

He added that people came and left frequently, and as soon as the windows and doors were boarded up, the barricades would be torn down again.

Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to Moir's home, but it does have smoke and water damage.

The same goes for Butler Casket, the building on the other side of the fire scene.

"We just took some water in the basement. It seems from what the firemen said the building next door filled with water and found its way in to my cellar," said Michael Butler.

Both Moir and Butler thanked firefighters for what they did.

Firefighters knew right from the beginning that both those houses were vacant and boarded up so that's why they put all their attention on saving the structures on both sides.

The size of the fire also told firefighters what they needed to do.

"The two houses were so fully engulfed here there wasn't a lot to do except save for the properties that were unaffected," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.

Moir is trying to look on the bright side. He looks forward to demolition and the removal of a neighborhood nuisance.

Chief Delaney said utilities there were disconnected.

Inspectors are looking for the cause of the fire. There is no word when the rubble will be bulldozed.