Fire Destroys Businesses, Landmark in Dunmore

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DUNMORE -- A Dunmore landmark went up in flames destroying several businesses overnight.

The old Dunmore High School on South Apple Street goes back to 1908.  It's now gone, destroyed in a fire that was first noticed a little after 11 p.m. Sunday .

The place stopped being a school decades ago, and businesses moved in after the students moved out.

The building, over 100 years old, housed among other things, a doctor's office, a dance studio, and a day care center.

"It's horrible.  We take care of these kids every day.  We love them like they're our own.  I don't know what we're going to do," said Robyn Seifert.

Seifert was there overnight to watch her day care business burn.  She could see the smoke and the flames shortly after she left her west Scranton home.  She knew it was bad.

The fire chief in Dunmore says just 15 minutes after that first alarm came in, they decided the flames were just too intense to keep going inside.  That's why they decided to battle the flames from the outside only.

And it was a losing battle.  In spite of the efforts of dozens of firefighters from several communities, the building collapsed and is a total loss. Just a brick shell remains.

Marguerite Sabia has been the school's neighbor for 50 of her 83 years.

"It was a nice old business place, day care center in there, doctor in there.  They really fixed it up nice and it was something for the neighborhood.  It was really nice."

Sarah McClain hasn't been here nearly as long.  McClain, too, is sorry to see the building destroyed, and she had other concerns, like the fire taking off and spreading down the block to her home.

"There were big huge chunks of char that were falling from the sky and ashes were hitting the ground.  You needed to back up and the whole town was filled with smoke," said McClain.

McClain considers herself lucky.  Other than the strong smell of smoke, her home is OK.

No one was hurt. The building was empty at the time.  Investigators are looking for the cause of the fire.

Several hundred homes and businesses lost electricity during the fire.  Most were back on-line Monday morning.

Click here for the story of the demolition of the building and reaction from people who worked and went to school there.

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