Man Missing After Fire in West Hazleton

WEST HAZLETON, Pa. -- A fire that destroyed an apartment house in West Hazleton over the weekend and left nearly a dozen people homeless is considered suspicious.

Now, police are looking for a man missing from that fire scene.

Police are looking for Grant Yamulla, 30. They say he was living in the apartment building on East Green Street and has not been seen since before the fire.

The fire happened after 8 p.m. Saturday.

"It went up very quickly. Ten minutes, the whole building was almost engulfed," said Martin Beccone, the owner of 4th Street Pub.

Investigators call the fire suspicious and now police are searching for Yamulla. They say he lived in the damaged apartment house and has not been seen since the fire happened.

"It just broke my heart. It's not a way to wake up when you hear this type of tragedy. It's something you don't want anybody to go through," said Michael Decarolis.

While firefighters were battling the flames, victims were able to stay warm inside the 4th Street Pub across the street.

"It was 20 degrees out. They were cold, and their house was on fire," said owner Martin Beccone. "These people lost everything. I tried to help them best I could.

Beccone also served hot beverages to firefighters that night.

The apartment house is severely damaged, and the West Hazleton fire chief says it will be torn down Tuesday morning.

"It's an eyesore for the neighbors, and it's best to take it down just for the safety of the residents and all," Decarolis said.

The building is too dangerous for firefighters to go inside and search for Yamulla, but West Hazelton's police chief tells Newswatch 16 he does not believe Yamulla was inside the building when it burned.

"I couldn't tell whether he was in there or not. I mean, that fire was quick. That fire went from nothing to two, three stories of flames in 15 minutes," said Beccone.

Police are still looking into whether the fire was set on purpose.

If you have any information about the fire or have seen Grant Yamulla you're asked to contact West Hazleton police.


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