Home Gutted by Fire in Scranton

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- A family escaped a burning duplex in west Scranton Friday morning. They can't stay in their home for now and neither can the man who lives on the other side.

Firefighters say a small grease fire quickly turned into a big fire with flames pouring out the first-floor windows of a duplex in west Scranton.

A couple and their five children lived in the damaged unit on Lafayette Street right across from Mike Connelly's home.

Connelly said, "They were out here screaming, and I heard all this noise." He added that after he saw the family and their pet cat flee the duplex he saw neighbors dial 9-1-1.

"I yelled at someone, 'do you have a hose?' And then the fire department showed up. They put this fire out, I'm telling you, in two minutes," explained Connelly.

Firefighters took a head count and found the couple and their five kids in the burning duplex were safe.

"They were out, they had a meeting area down the street. They were all together as a group, which is everything you should do as a family," said Scranton Assistant Fire Chief Dave Schreiber.

Witnesses say Scranton firefighters arrived quickly. According to witnesses, it was a good thing because the buildings are so close together in this neighborhood, there was a fear the fire would spread down the block.

Connelly added, "It would have just went and went and went because you could see it's at the far side of this corner. Especially with this breeze it would have just went and went and went."

Instead, crews kept the flames to just one side of the duplex. The man who lives on the other side tells Newswatch 16 smoke and water damage will force him out of his home until repairs are made.

But the family of seven from the gutted side of the duplex fire will have to wait to see if any of their belongings can be salvaged.