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Man Missing Following Blaze In West Hazleton

January 15, 2019 GMT

West Hazleton police are trying to account for a man who was living in a building destroyed by fire Saturday night.

Grant Yamulla, 30, was living at 103 E. Green St. and hasn’t been seen since before the fire began.

Police Chief Brian Buglio said officers believe he made it out of the building safely but still need to account for him.

Family members, too, were also unable to locate Yamulla or make contact with him.

If anyone has seen Yamulla, or knows his whereabouts, they can call the West Hazleton Police Department at 570-455-3733 so police can confirm his safety and reunite him with family members.

Police can be reached via email at whpd83@gmail.com, or by calling 911, too.

Officers are also seeking anyone with pictures or video of early stages of the fire.

West Hazleton Fire Chief Rick Sparks said firefighters searched the building for residents immediately after arriving at the fire scene Saturday night.

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Once the flames were extinguished they searched from a ladder truck, peering inside the building from above and didn’t find anyone or any signs that someone was inside during the fire, said Sparks, who has more than 40 years in firefighting experience.

The damage left by the fire made a hand search of the building “extremely dangerous” for firefighters, Sparks said. A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal investigated inside the building twice already and also didn’t find anyone inside.

West Hazleton Code Officer Diane Panzarella said because the building is an “imminent danger,” demolition was ordered and will begin this morning. Utility companies were already contacted to terminate their connections and mark the streets for their locations.

The fire, which began on the second floor of the 103 side, remains under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal and West Hazleton police.

— STAFF REPORT