Chief: Cause of Wilkes-Barre Township fire under investigation


Police use St. John’s Byzantine Church lot for parking emergency vehicles Friday while personnel were at the scene of a fire at 538 Church St. in Wilkes-Barre Township.


Melanie Mizenko | Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A quick response to a fire in the township Friday night was a stroke of luck, officials say.

Calls came in for a fire at 538 Church St. around 8:45 p.m., a Luzerne County 911 dispatcher said.

In front of the corner building is a fire hydrant that easily could have been hidden or inaccessible because of the snow Tuesday’s storm dumped on the region.

But Fire Chief Richard Hart said his crews were out Wednesday and Thursday removing snow from around fire hydrants in the municipality, including the one at Church and Chestnut streets.

“The snow played a little bit of a factor,” Hart said.

Church, Chestnut and Spencer streets were closed as firefighters battled the blaze, which initially was reported as an explosion.

Hart said he believes the four residents displaced by the fire will stay with family. The American Red Cross was on scene to help with immediate lodging and other necessities. At first, neighbors believed a cat was missing, but Hart said all animals were retrieved safely.

Hart noted it took crews more than three hours to fight the fire. He said a state police fire marshal will be on scene Monday to determine the cause.

His crews were assisted by Hanover Township, Ashley, Nanticoke, Plains Township, Kingston, Laflin, Laurel Run, Fairview Township and Mountain Top fire departments.

“We brought in Laurel Run and Fairview for manpower,” Hart said.

Trans-Med ambulance and Wilkes-Barre Township police also were dispatched.

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Police use St. John’s Byzantine Church lot for parking emergency vehicles Friday while personnel were at the scene of a fire at 538 Church St. in Wilkes-Barre Township.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_Fire2-4.jpgPolice use St. John’s Byzantine Church lot for parking emergency vehicles Friday while personnel were at the scene of a fire at 538 Church St. in Wilkes-Barre Township. Melanie Mizenko | Times Leader

By Melanie Mizenko

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Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko.

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko.

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