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Man Dead After Fire in Lackawanna County

FELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A man is dead after a fire at an apartment building in Lackawanna County. Paul Hemak, 53, died in a fire along Main Street in Fell To...

FELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A man is dead after a fire at an apartment building in Lackawanna County.

Paul Hemak, 53, died in a fire along Main Street in Fell Township that began around 11:15 p.m. Sunday.

The destroyed a former bar -- Paul's Place -- and an upstairs apartment belonging to Hemak's mother. She made it out safely.

Loved ones said Hemak lived next door to the burning building and they are not certain why he was inside, but he never made it out.

"All black smoke, couldn't breathe, you had to run from the smoke, and I don't have asthma and I had trouble breathing," said Luis Morales of Simpson.

Firefighters said they did their best to douse the flames quickly, but it was difficult.

"Whole place was fully involved when we got here, whole place was burning for a while before we even got called," said Assistant Fire Chief Joe Unis of Grattan Singer Hose Company.

Family members are trying to raise money to pay for Hemak's funeral costs and trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

"Very good family. I know Paulie for a long time," said Morales.

A state police fire marshall is trying to figure out how the blaze started.