The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 28, 2014

Seven people homeless following $150,000 fire in Sunbury

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Seven people are homeless and a firefighter required treatment for dehydration after a two-alarm fire Sunday extensively damaged two city homes. The loss was estimated at $150,000.

About 50 volunteers responded to the blaze, reported at about 6:15 a.m. at 159 Fairmount Ave., a home with upstairs and downstairs apartments near Race Street, Sunbury Fire Chief Ken Kipple said.

Firefighters faced heavy smoke when they reached the scene, he said, and it’s believed the fire started in an unoccupied bedroom in the downstairs apartment. It quickly spread to an adjoining duplex at 153-155 Fairmount Ave.

Both buildings were occupied at the time, but the seven people safely escaped the burning structures, Kipple said. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

The residents’ names were not available before deadline Sunday, but Kipple said those involved were a mother and two children who lived in 153 Fairmount Ave., a father and son in 155 Fairmount Ave. and a single occupant in each apartment at 159 Fairmount Ave.

The SUN Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is helping one family; the rest are staying with family or friends, Kipple said.

The fire rendered the buildings unlivable. Damage is estimated at $90,000 at 159 Fairmount Ave. and at $60,000 at the duplex, Kipple said, adding the buildings are insured. The property owners’ names were not available.

The cause is not known, but the fire is not considered suspicious, Kipple said. A state police fire marshal is expected to visit the scene this morning.

One firefighter was treated at a hospital for dehydration, the chief said. Responding to the scene with the Sunbury Fire Department were the Shamokin Dam Fire Company, Upper Augusta Township Fire Company and an engine from the Rescue Fire Company in Shamokin.