WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — UPDATE: The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim in an early morning fire that broke out on the property of Genetti’s Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre Tuesday.
According to the coroner, Larry Wilson, 67, a resident at the apartment complex died as a result of breathing in too much smoke. A Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal is investigating the cause.
Wilson and two pets died in the fire and dozens were evacuated.
Several crews responded to a fire that broke out at the Redington Hotel-Efficiencies at the Genetti complex in downtown Wilkes-Barre around 2:00 a.m.
“The building was on fire. They knocked on the door. As soon as I opened it they just pulled me out. I didn’t have the chance to grab anything. I grabbed my keys and that was it,” stated Zachary Jackson, a resident.
Nearly 100 residents like, Jackson made it out alive. But one person and two dogs lost their lives in the early morning fire.
Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney spoke with us Tuesday morning as crews were battling the flames.
“No one else injured. Multiple firefighters here. They’ve done a good job. The fire is under control at this point but they’re still pulling some of the walls apart and some of the areas around the affected fire room,” explained Cheif Delaney.
Fire crews rescued four people from the side of the building using ladder trucks.
The American Red Cross is providing assistance to 85 people who are now displaced. The adjacent hotel is opening 27 rooms for fire victims like Trevor Yates, who saved himself and his German shepard, Lily.
“When we went up on the roof over there we could see smoke coming out of it so… I hear people have pipes flooding down into their apartments,” said Yates.
Many who were evacuated remain shaken by the experience.
“I saw smoke in the hallways and we just started heading out, you know? We saw the fire and everything coming out of the front. We’re on the backside but it filled up with smoke really quick though,” explained Tom Kresge, a victim of the fire.
Firefighters have told Eyewitness News there was extensive damage to the efficiencies side of the building.
Crews say there’s a lot of damage. Code enforcement needs to come and assess the situation. They are not happy that 85 people will be displaced, but they say it is all for their safety.
No one will be allowed back in that portion of the building until code enforcement deems the building safe.