Fire Damages Apartment Building in Lackawanna County

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COVINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A fire at an apartment building is under investigation in Lackawanna County.

A neighbor says he noticed smoke coming from the place on Route 307 in Covington Township around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Zachary Johnson was the right person in the right place at the right time when the fire started.

"A little jittery I guess because it's the last thing you expect at one o'clock in the morning. I didn't even think at that point. It was just, get everyone out of the house, and make sure everyone was OKs," said Johnson.

Johnson and his girlfriend were at a friend's barbeque Monday night. When they got home around 1 a.m., they saw what at first they thought was their neighbors having a bonfire. But when they realized it was way too close to the house, they called 911 then made sure all of their neighbors woke up and got out.

"It's amazing," said fire victim Jon Lacomis. "Who would have thought the luck that someone would have been standing outside at one in the morning, looks over and sees fire, comes over and wakes the whole apartment up and gets them out."

Once everyone got out safely, neighbors and people who live here started dragging propane tanks as far away from the house as they could.

"Just that stuff that's been drilled in my head from my grandfather, school, stuff like that. It was just, get all of the flammables and explosives away from the building and try to contain the fire until the fire department arrives," said Johnson.

The fire started outside and spread to the building. It has four units and seven tenants, but only one of those units was damaged. All of the fire victims can't thank their neighbor enough for saving their lives.

"I hope anyone would be smart enough and courageous enough to do that. If it was my house, I would hope someone would do the same for me. A little while longer, who knows if they would have got out or what could have happened. I'm just glad everyone's OK and got out safe," Johnson added.

Fire marshals believe the fire started in a trash bin in the back of the house. It is still under investigation.

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