State Police: Burned Apartment House Had No Working Smoke Alarms

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Fire Investigators in Lackawanna County said they'll never know for sure what caused a deadly fire in Dunmore over the weekend.

But they do know that the apartment house didn't have any working smoke alarms.

Maria Fazio, who lived on the third floor of 113 Chestnut Street, said she'll never know if working smoke alarms would have saved her brother Joseph Fazio and his roommates Ashley and Nicole Price.

Either way, shes said her family now has to move on from two tragedies this weekend.

Fazio has endured more in the span of 48 hours than many of us could possibly imagine. Newswatch 16 met her while she was taking her daughter's toys out of their burnt out apartment.

Her older brother, Joseph Fazio, was one of three people killed in the same fire early Saturday morning. Faced with that news, Maria then had to rush to her mother's bedside.

Her mother died of breast cancer only hours later.

"She knew that we were there, but I didn't want to tell her that he died. Because I didn't want that to be maybe the last thing on her mind that her son was dead and we lost everything," Maria said.

The loss of her brother Joseph and his roommates Ashley and Nicole Price hasn't settled in yet, Maria said. She said the three were asleep when the flames broke out.

Fire investigators said there were no working smoke alarms in the apartment house. Two Dunmore Police officers who happened to be in the area likely saved the lives of eight tenants, including Maria and her daughter.

"If it wasn't for the policeman driving by they said that the people on the third floor would have been dead," she added.

The building's owner Tom Murphy said his business, Dunmore Beauty Supply, is probably a total loss. He was a landlord to tenants in five apartments at 113 Chestnut Street and said there were smoke detectors in the building. He feared the tenants never replaced the batteries.

"I'm devastated. Like I said, loss of property is one thing but those poor people. And I just can't control how people live, I can't be here 24 hours a day," Murphy said.

A State Police fire investigator said they did find smoke alarms on the second floor where the fire started but he said it's clear they weren't working.

The investigator also said the fire started in Joseph Fazio's bedroom but there was so much damage he will never know for sure what sparked it.