Some Residents Allowed To Return To High Rise Apartment Building After Deadly Fire

WILKES-BARRE -- Some of the dozens of people forced from their apartments in Luzerne County after Tuesday's deadly high rise fire were finally being allowed to return home Wednesday night.

That fire broke out in an apartment on the fifth floor of the Lincoln Plaza Apartment Building in Wilkes-Barre, killing two women.

After spending roughly two days and a night out of their homes and in a temporary shelter at GAR High School, some of the 150 people living at the Lincoln Plaza Apartment Building were allowed to return home in Wilkes-Barre.

“Oh happy, happy, I’m happy,” said Maxine Harrell.

“Great, yeah, I’ve been here 11 years,” said Emily Webster.

A deadly blaze broke out around noon Tuesday on the fifth floor, killing 55-year-old Gloria Nieves and 62-year-old Luann Gilroy.

Mike Johnstone says he knew Luann for years.

“I’ve known the lady since she was a baby, so I was away,” said Johnstone. “When I came back here, I see her and I’m, aren’t you Luann? She said yeah.”

The residents living in the floors one through four were allowed to return home, after the Wilkes-Barre fire chief and the city’s code inspector checked out the building.

The fifth floor remains off limits as it is still part of a state police fire marshal’s investigation.

Floors six through 10 have too much smoke and heat damage to allow anyone to live there at this time.

Many residents came out only to find they would have to return to the shelter at GAR

“Right before the holidays, I can’t even enjoy my tree, I have my Christmas stuff up there, I can’t even get that out for everybody,” said Darlene Hughes.

“I have bad damage in mine because I was over the fire. They’re going to let me in in a couple days,” said Johnstone. “Right now, I’m going to GAR but then I’m going to family.”

The executive director of the Housing Authority says restoration crews will be working late into the night, and then again in the morning with the hopes of getting residents living on the higher floors back home as soon as possible.