WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The fire in Ashland has raised the question about the fire dangers of row houses.
Experts tell Eyewitness News that many row homes were built long before modern building and safety codes were mandated and to update them to today’s standards would be costly. Firefighters say flames and row houses just don’t mix.
“There’s so much building in one block. They are all connected. They’re old construction from coal miner days. I can go on about the construction, but that’s the terror the issue you have at hand,” Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton said.
Chief Hazleton says common attics are the biggest issue. The solution is a simple, but costly one for property owners.
“It’s going to be firewalls and they’re so expensive. The old ones are grandfathered in. Unfortuenelty most landlords it’s expsnsive and they’re just not going to do it,” Chief Hazleton explained.
State Senator John Yudichak says Pennsylvania does not have the funding to offer financial assistance to property owners if they did want to upgrade.
“This is an Anthracite area, king coal and unfortuntely, a lot of these homes were built prior to these regulations being put into place. People have to be careful be proactive out in fire alarms in the house at least,” Senator Yudichak said.
Firefighters from Nanticoke say it comes down to being proactive. Accidents do happen, but early warning is key. They strongly recommend having smoke and fire alarms.