Getting Back to Work After Fire in Dunmore

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DUNMORE -- For anyone who works in an office, it may be hard to imagine how you'd continue your job if everything you needed went up in flames.

Tenants of a historic building in Lackawanna County are piecing together their workplaces after this devastating fire Sunday night.

The contents of a doctor's office, a day care center, and a foster care non-profit agency are buried under a pile of rubble that used to be the old Dunmore High School. A building that dated back to the 1890's. Tuesday, the current tenants and the owner of the old school spent hours sifting through all this and preparing to move on.

Al Senofonte of Dunmore stood atop 17 years of his hard work, that's how long it's been since he bought the old Dunmore High School on S. Apple Street and turned it into offices.

Now, he's feeling lost and spent the day searching for a lost computer hard drive for one of his tenants.

"As time goes on, it's starting to sink in that this has really happened. It's just sad, I really don't know what to do at this point," Senofonte said.

Senofonte said it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. He and his business tenants spent the day sifting through the remains of the century old school that was destroyed by fire. They tried to find any computer parts or files that were salvageable.

Senofonte is saving one piece for himself, the school's cornerstone from 1908. He plans to rebuild on the lot and said it will be a reminder of what used to be here.

"I think it was the history, and you walked into it and it had decorative tin ceilings. It had the red white and blue tile on the floor that said "Dunmore High School". There's a lot of nostalgia here and I think that made people feel warm," Senofonte said.

That warmth wasn't lost on the employees from Family Care for Children and Youth as they searched through the remains of their non-profit's office. They uncovered some personal memories, but all of their client's files are ruined.

"All of the files that we lost we have to put them back together, it's like putting the pieces of a puzzle back together. So, we have to go to our county agencies and get all of that information again," said supervisor Shari Menichello.

Employees from Here We Grow With Love Day Care stopped by too to pick up the few toys that were unscathed, many of the children that used the day care are staying at their houses for now.

They'll all start again, they say, but it's the "how" that's the hard part.

State Police fire marshals said the fire Sunday night was an accident, but they don't know what exactly sparked it.

Officials with the Dr. Vithal Dhaduk's office that was inside the building are referring patients to another office in Carbondale.

If you'd like to help Family Care for Children and Youth affected by the fire, you can call 570-961-3621.

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