Fire evacuates residents of Scranton apartment building

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Four families are out of their homes tonight after fire hit a Scranton apartment complex.

The fire broke out this morning at Park Gardens in the city’s Green Ridge section. Windows are broken in the upper right-hand corner of building 21. It is the apartment where the fire started and was confined.

All total, four apartments are damaged but all of the tenants are safe — including a six-year-old boy and his mom thanks to his quick actions.

“And they said that I am the hero, too,” said Jack Engle, who awakened his mom during the fire.

Standing with his mother outside the fire-damaged building that houses their apartment, Engle recounts what he did inside it around 7:30 in the morning.

“I was eating breakfast and I heard the alarm and I was screaming at my mom. She was asleep,” Engle said.

“And then he said mommy I smell smoke so I opened up the door and I smelled smoke so I got us all dressed and out,” said Cate McDonald, his mother.

They are among nine people chased from the building at 21 Morel Street. Firefighters prevented flames from spreading beyond the one apartment.

“They made entry, extinguished the fire contained it to it looks like probably the kitchen and living room area,” said Chief John Judge with the Scranton Fire Department.

While all nine tenants escaped unhurt, a man’s dog and cat died in the apartment where flames sparked.

“It is very sad what happened to his pets so I really do wish him well especially around the holidays that is just absolutely awful to happen,” said McDonald.

As bad as this is, it could have been worse but for the quick thinking of a young boy.

“The firefighters and the policeman, they were just wonderful with my son they called him a hero for what he did and he just really loved that because firefighters and policeman are his heroes,” said McDonald.

“Really cool, The officers and firemen really, I love that. I just love that they said I was the hero,” said Engle.

McDonald says she and her son will stay with friends through the weekend and may lean on the Red Cross for assistance after that. There is no word where families in the other three damaged apartments plan to stay.

The Scranton fire chief says the cause of the fire remains undetermined and under investigation.

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