FELL TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – A Fell Township man lost his life in a fast moving fire late Sunday night.
Just after 11 p.m. Sunday, authorities say they were called to a fire at 714 Main Street. Upon their arrival, the former bar Paul’s Place was already up in flames.
Multiple fire departments battled the fire in Lackawanna County.
“It probably was burning a while before we got here. The structure is as you can see a brick structure so it kind of was like a chimney and held in the heat,” said Assistant Fire Chief Joe Unis Jr., Grattan Singer Hose Company.
Officials say Paul Hemak Senior, 53, died in the fire. The family believes he may have went back into the burning building to retrieve something. He didn’t make it out.
“It’s been a lot of tears, it’s been a lot of crying,” said Paul Hemak Junior, son.
“Last night I heard my grandma screaming that there might have been a fire. I started getting out of bed. My dad he went out to check my grandma was out.”
Paul Hemak Senior’s mother lived in an apartment above Paul’s Place.
Grattan Singer Hose Company, Whites Crossing Fire, Clifford Twp. Fire, Carbondale Fire, Waymart Fire Department, Browndale Fire Department, Forest City Fire Department, Cottage Rescue, and Mayfield Fire Department all assisted putting out the fire in the community of Simpson.
The fire has been ruled accidental, the cause is still not known.
The American Red Cross is assisting the family.
Funeral arrangements for Paul Hemak Sr. have not yet been set, as family members are working to raise money for the cost.
The Simpson community is now reeling in their loss of a neighbor, and loved one.
“He was a staple in the community,” said Assist. Fire Chief Unis. “The community is going to be grieving over this, just the loss of it’s never easy. Knowing the family just makes it even harder.”
“He was a great man, the whole town loved him,” said Paul Hemak Jr.