Two Die in Wilkes-Barre High Rise Fire

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WILKES-BARRE -- Two people are dead after fire ripped through a high-rise building in Wilkes-Barre, according to city officials.

The coroner said Gloria Nieves, 55 and Luann Gilroy, 62  both died.

Emergency responders were called out just after noon Tuesday to the Lincoln Plaza high-rise building on Lincoln Street in Wilkes-Barre.

The flames forced dozens of people out of their homes and into shelters.

Firefighters had to take more than 150 people from the Lincoln Plaza high-rise in Wilkes-Barre. Many people we spoke to were thankful they got out alive.

Smoke poured out of an apartment at Lincoln Plaza in Wilkes-Barre in what turned about to be a deadly fire.

Down below, Iris Nieves called family. She couldn't find her sister after the fire. Sadly, now we know her sister Gloria was pronounced dead.

"I feel like part of me is missing. We are very close. Until I see her, I won't be happy," Nieves said.

Nieves said the stairwells were pitch black with smoke as residents tried to get out.

"There was just so much smoke, and flames were shooting out of the balcony," Nieves recalled.

Some had their cats in crates and dogs on leashes, but others were in such a hurry, they couldn't even get their shoes on in time.

"This right here puts a damper on everything. I got to be at work. I ain't got no shoes on. I ain't got no ID on me. That's how life is though," said resident Carol Bennett.

Fire crews say it all started on the fifth floor around noon. Residents tell us there have been plenty of small fires here before, but nothing like this.

"It's never been like this before. When you did have a fire, somebody you know put something on the stove and fell asleep, whatever, things like that, but it's not like this," said resident Anthony Marino.

The fire chief in Wilkes-Barre says crews are well trained in fires like these. In fact, they were at a class focusing on high-rise fires moments before the alarm came in.

"Our firefighters did an impeccable job here with this fire. Yes, there were two people who did not make it out, but 150 or 160-some did without injury," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.

Fire officials have not said what caused the fire.

Investigators say they are still looking into cause but don't consider the fire suspicious.

Cleaning crews have been hard at work getting some floors ready for residents to return on Wednesday.

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