Apartments Destroyed in Smoky Scranton Fire

SCRANTON -- Fire destroyed an apartment house in Scranton Wednesday afternoon.

It broke out around noon on South Webster Avenue.

The apartment building at South Webster Avenue and Hickory Street in south Scranton is positioned in a way on a hill that you could see the smoke from this fire all over the city and it burned for hours.

The building that was home to 11 people is likely destroyed.

Many of the people who came to watch the house on South Webster Avenue and Hickory Street burn saw the smoke from elsewhere in the city and wanted to check on their own property.

"Very concerned, especially when I saw the smoke coming up from down the road there," said Ian Watkins. "it was pretty bad, and then it just kept getting worse and worse and worse."

Watkins lives next door. His house was safe but the apartment house that was home to 11 people, many in the same family, is likely destroyed.

A dog and two cats were killed in the fire. Several people were home at the time but got out safely.

"You know, the only thing that matters is you got out safe, just a little heartbroken right now," said a neighbor named Joe.

Joe came to watch the flames. His father-in-law moved out of the apartment house just two weeks ago.

"That patio, my 4 year old and my 2 year old and my newborn, we all used to play on the patio. Fourth of July that just passed, I was setting off little baby firecrackers right there. It's hard to imagine. Used to sleep over there a lot, it was a big house, I'll tell you that, really nice house."

It burned for hours. Firefighters say the flames worked their way into a crawl space above the ceiling and soon consumed the entire roof.

Fire crews had no early indications of what caused the fire.

"Thanks to the Scranton Fire Department, absolutely, thanks to those guys for being out here in this cold," Watkins added.

A fire marshal will investigate the cause.