Hazleton, Luzerne County -- "PPL confirmed there was no power in the building and the water company was also here and confirmed there was not water in the building," said Hazleton Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Jones. Dozens of firefighters responded to fight the fire at a vacant Hazleton house with no working utilities. Flames erupted Sunday afternoon around 1 o'clock. Next door neighbor Todd Fairall was among the first to spot the fire. "I seen the smoke. All of a sudden I looked over and you could see the flames shooting out from the roof." Deputy Chief Jones added, "There was heavy fire coming from the basement. So right now the investigation is pinpointed toward the basement on the left hand side."
Smoke began to filter into Mr. Fairall's home. "I took it upon myself to get dressed and get the hell out," he said. Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to any other buildings. Crews managed to knock down the flames in about a half-hour but it wasn't easy. "The basement in the first floor had a lot of junk and debris piled up in it. That was kind of a hamper in getting to the fire," said Deputy Chief Jones.
Neighbors say no one has lived in the two-unit house for years although they have noticed activity on a regular basis. "There's a person who comes and goes every day, uses it as a storage room," said Adilene Hijuitl. As for who was the last person inside the building before it caught fire, neighbors are left to wonder. "The back door was wide open and I don't know if somebody broke in or what but I knew there was nobody living in the house," said Jamie Ehrenberg.
A state police fire marshal is heading the investigation. As of Sunday evening, the cause of the fire was unavailable.