WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Wilkes-Barre fire officials say lives were saved because of ongoing training of firefighters.

Flames broke out on the third floor of the six-story Redington-Hotel Efficiencies in downtown Wilkes-Barre at around 2 a.m. last Tuesday. One man was killed in the fire.

More than 100 residents were evacuated under extreme conditions. Four residents had to be rescued from a fourth-floor window. It was bitter cold and smoke conditions were heavy.

Wilkes-Barre fire officials say ongoing training helped make those rescues possible and they learned lessons from this tragedy.

“Firefighters train for years and years to have a fire of that magnitude and not just managing the fire but managing the people that were involved with that fire. The firefighters simply utilized their training. It took a lot of guts to do a lot of the things that they did,” Wilkes-Barre Fire Department Chief Jay Delaney said.

Delaney says he has heard some some questions from residents over the past year or so about the city’s aerial ladder truck. Many people see fire crews often driving it around the city.

“If there’s one thing I hear over and over again: ‘Why is that aerial ladder truck in my neighborhood? Why do I see it out all the time?’ The answer to that is so they can become really really good utilizing and the operations of it,” Delaney said.

The chief says that training paid life-saving dividends last Tuesday when the big truck was maneuvered into a very small area to get closer to the building.

“I’ll tell you how tense it was, they just about got the ladder in place, the firefighter just about got halfway up the ladder and the people were coming out the window to get on the tip of that ladder to come down,” Delaney said.

The chief and the mayor says training and preplanning paid off in a big time way last Tuesday.

“To be the best, they have to be fully staffed and they have to have training and the equipment that’s necessary to do the job,” Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown said.

Chief Delaney says they never underestimate the need for training and the mayor points out that even in tough financial times, they make it work and make sure the fire department and police department are fully funded.

The fire was ruled accidental, but no cause has been released.