Garage, Apartment Destroyed In W-B Twp. Fire
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Fire broke out at a township garage Friday afternoon, destroying the building and an attached apartment but resulting in no injuries.
Firefighters were dispatched Harris and Metcalf streets around 12:30 p.m. to a report of a multi-structure fire, drawing crews from departments ranging from Nanticoke to Plains Twp. to respond.
The building’s owner, Neil Ross, 69, of Bear Creek Twp., said his tenant had the heat turned up prior to the fire breaking out.
“The tenant was using the furnace to heat up the building — a little more than he should have, apparently — to thaw pipes,” said Ross, the owner of Pine Run Alternators and Starters.
Ross said he got a call while he was out at the Home Depot that the building had caught fire.
The flames from the fire were so intense that the heat melted siding on a building across the street, despite temperatures hovering in the mid-teens Friday afternoon. Thick, white smoke from the blaze rose into the cloudy sky, leaving a trail that could be seen for miles.
An hour after getting the report, firefighters were still attacking the smoldering blaze from the ground and with a ladder truck. Wilkes-Barre Twp. Fire Chief Richard Hart confirmed the occupant of the building escaped and no injuries were reported.
Ross said the fire destroyed the garage as well as the apartment occupied by the tenant.
“I didn’t have any insurance on that building at all,” Ross said at the scene. “Because of the garage part and the apartment, they want too damn much money. They make it too hard on you, the insurer. It’s a total loss.”