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Fire Aftermath: Building to be Demolished

SCRANTON — Investigators say the building damaged by Saturday’s fire in Scranton will need to be torn down. Renters at that building returned Sunday...

SCRANTON -- Investigators say the building damaged by Saturday's fire in Scranton will need to be torn down.

Renters at that building returned Sunday for another look at the damage.

Crews were stabilizing the very wobbly building on East Market Street to protect nearby businesses. Officials say the burned out apartment building cannot be saved.

It's scheduled to be demolished Monday morning.

A smoke alarm still blares its warning the day after the fire at 703 East Market in Scranton. City officials worry about the stability of the gutted apartment building, appearing on the verge of collapse.

"It's gotta come down now.  It's that dangerous," said Bill Courtright, Mayor of Scranton.

Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright spent the morning with demolition contractors.

Business owners fear a strong wind could push loose bricks from the side and front of the building, potentially threatening nearby businesses which survived the fire.

"I got smoke damage, I got smell inside, but it's all good," said Bob Andras of Scranton.

Saturday's fire left nine people looking for another place to live. The building's owner confirms a candle tipped over onto a mattress in a third floor apartment, which started the fire.

The day after, crews tried to stabilize a shaky wall, and keep bricks from falling onto the Cuppa Cake Café next door. Former tenants in the upstairs apartments learned they could not salvage the clothes or property they could see from the street.

"I feel bad. I've had tenants who have been here for ten years," said the building's owner.

The Red Cross is now helping tenants find new places to live.

"I feel lucky that I'm alive, that nobody got hurt," said Kristin Martelli of Scranton.

Martelli opened her massage therapy practice and wellness business named "Grow" almost three years ago on the ground floor of the burned out building. Her practice will have to move. She hopes she won't have to move far.

"I live in this neighborhood, I love this neighborhood, I love this community," added Martelli. "I really hope I can keep my business up and running in this neighborhood."

In this neighborhood, district officials say Robert Morris Elementary School will close Monday because of the demolition. The United Neighborhood's Green Ridge Center will also close. Its director says families can bring their kids to the Emmett Street location.

But the people who have it toughest appear to be the nine tenants who are looking for new places to live. They lost almost all their possessions, and the building's owner says only one had renter's insurance.