Fire Forces 15 People from Apartment Building in Hazleton

HAZLETON, Pa. -- A fire forced 15 people out of their apartment building on Tuesday night.

The American Red Cross is helping the people who lived in the apartment building on East Green Street get back on their feet. Many of the residents are still in shock.

"In one day, you lose everything. That's how I'm feeling right now," Francis Fermin said.

It only took a couple of minutes for the fire to spread from the second floor to the third floor.

Firefighters in the Hazleton area were able to get to the apartment building within one minute of being dispatched.

"When the fire got up into the third floor, it was very difficult. We had to do a lot of overhaul, a lot of operation, very demanding on the guys, opening up ceilings, roofs," Hazleton City Fire Chief Donald Leshko said.

Chief Leshko also said the fire was especially difficult to fight because it was so close to two neighboring buildings.

"The one structure suffered some minor little burn marks on its roof, but other than that they are still operational today," Chief Leshko said.

The owner of the apartment building does have insurance, but Chief Leshko said it's likely the building will be demolished.

Now, the people who lived there are left to pick up the pieces.

"Now to see this, that everything is burned and everything was on fire last night, you have to start from the beginning," Fermin said.

Chief Leshko said one person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and has since been released.

A state police fire marshal is still looking for a cause on the fire.

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