WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — New developments surfaced Friday in the aftermath of a deadly fire at a Wilkes-Barre complex that killed one person and displaced more than 100. The building is now being called unlivable.
City officials tell Eyewitness News that the Reddington-Hotel Efficiencies Building is unlivable because of the damage caused by the fire early Tuesday morning. There is now a sign on the front door of the building.
The fire broke out in a third floor apartment at around 2 am Tuesday. Wilkes-Barre firefighters had to rescue 4 people by using their aerial ladder truck.
More than 100 residents were evacuated, 67 year old Larry Wilson was killed.
“The fact that our fire department our policed department and paramedics they did an outstanding job. You just look at the amount of people that had to be evacuated from 6 floors. We had firefighters and police officers inside the building knocking on doors evacuating people,” stated Mayor George Brown.
The city hired a building inspector to evaluate the damage.
“There was damage from the first floor to the 6th floor whether it was fire damage or water damage,” said Brown.
Butch Frati is Director of Operations for the City of Wilkes-Barre, he reads from the building inspection report.
“Many of the fire alarms have been melted and they were affected by fire and doors have been affected significantly. All the corridors there’s falling debris a lot of smoke damage,” explained Frati.
City health officials say it’s simply too dangerous to allow anyone to live inside the building until repairs are made.
“Anytime you have intense smoke intense heat fire and water damage it creates an unhealthy situation,” stated Henry Radulski, Director of the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department.
We know that managers from Genetti’s have been working with their insurance adjusters looking over the damage. It’s too early to estimate when this building may reopen.
James Warmer drags trash bags out of the Reddington-Hotel Efficiencies Friday morning. He was able to go to his 6th-floor apartment and retrieve some personal items he says he will never forget the night of the fire.
“I was sleeping at about 2;15 my fiancé woke me up says I smell smoke. I jumped up touched the door handle to see if it was hot or cold. It was cold, as soon as I opened the door I got hit with nothing but black smoke,” explained Warmer.
Warmer says he and his fiancé ran down a fire escape.
“Between the 6th floor and 2nd floor, I lost my fiancé maybe like four times. I had to keep running up through the smoke. I could not see could not breathe. She was about to give up when I dragged her down the steps and everything,” stated Warmer.
Warmer says he is not sure what his future holds, for now, he’s staying with family.
“Since Tuesday I haven’t been to work. My cat passed away die t smoke fire and smoke inhalation. I haven’t been back to work all week. I’m not making money. I’m trying to get friends to get me clothes,” explained Warmer.
“I have the clothes that I just got in the shelter, that’s all I have you know,” said Tony Mattero.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by a State Police Fire Marshal working with Wilkes-Barre fire inspectors.