Fire Victims Led To Safety

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HAZLETON -- A fire in Hazleton had first responders and a neighbor leading the people who lived in the home to safety.

Fire crews battled a stubborn blaze Monday on North Cleveland Street in Hazleton. The fire started on one side of the duplex home.

"The inside of the 607 side has a lot of fire damage, the 605 side, heavy smoke damage," said Deputy Chief Brian Mandak of the Hazleton Fire Department. "The question is it livable? Not right now but it is remodelable."

Investigators say a pot of food left unattended on the stove is to blame. The fire also forced two women out of the home. The police chief and a neighbor are credited with leading the victims to safety.

"It's all that they have it their homes and they are not quick to want to leave them, so we convinced them to come across the street where it's safe," said Chief Frank DeAndrea of the Hazleton Police Department.

Catherine Esposito's sister-in-law was burned by the flames.

"She comes running over, (sayin) that there was smoke coming out of my house, so I called the firemen right away and the whole house was full of smoke," said Esposito. "Never thought something like this would happen and they told me I can't sleep at my house tonight.Where am I going to go? I will sleep at my sister's place."