x
Breaking News
More () »

Fire Hits Historic Block in Towanda

TOWANDA — Fire forced more than a dozen people out of their homes and into the cold. The fire started in an apartment building known as “Bailey Block” in ...
TOWANDA_FIRE1-12-13

TOWANDA -- Fire forced more than a dozen people out of their homes and into the cold.

The fire started in an apartment building known as “Bailey Block” in the 700 block of Main Street in downtown Towanda around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Apartments and businesses were inside those historic buildings that burned. Now those fire victims have to find somewhere else to stay.

Firefighters said the flames, along with smoke and water, damaged three buildings.

Micah Dinelli and her family of four lost everything. She was in her apartment, saw smoke in the hall, and called 911.

"I thought it was bacon burning. That's exactly what I thought because they go off almost every morning from someone cooking breakfast," Dinelli said.

But when Dinelli got outside, she saw the situation was more serious.

One couple who lives just yards away felt the heat from the flames.

"We came out on the porch. We stood right in front of it and we were like, 'Oh my God, that is horrible,'" said Rebekah Lubitz.

David Lattimer's sister lived in the burning building. He was relieved she wasn't home.

"I could imagine the horrible things that could have been happening," Lattimer said.

More than 10 departments from across Bradford County and as far away as New York state came to help.

While everyone was able to escape, the Towanda fire chief said one woman didn't realize what was happening until at least half an hour after the fire started.

"There was a woman on the south side apartment third floor waving to us, so we got a ladder up to her, but she ended up coming down the stairs herself getting herself out," Towanda Fire Chief Bill Roof said.

The fire chief said careless smoking started the fire.

Firefighters said the age of the building made the flames tough to control. The Bailey block was built back in 1893.

The Red Cross is helping more than a dozen people displaced by the fire. Some are staying with family and others in a hotel.

The community was quick to help. Even before the fire was out, donations started pouring in.

The mayor of the borough said this is probably the biggest emergency to hit Towanda since the flood of 2011, but he has confidence people here will pull together and help the families in a big way.