Alerted by smoke alarms, tenants escape Muncy fire



MUNCY — Tragedy was averted early Wednesday morning thanks to working smoke alarms that alerted several tenants to a fire set in their four-unit apartment building at 24 W. Water St., according to fire and police investigators.

“This could have been real bad. This could have been a catastrophe,” Scott Delany, Muncy Area assistant fire chief, said of the fire that broke out about 3:50 a.m.

About a half a dozen residents were routed from their beds either by the smoke alarms, or by someone who had already heard the smoke detectors pounding on their doors, Delany said.

Everyone was already out of the three-story building when Muncy Area volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene, according to Kevin Rupert, another assistant fire chief.

“There was heavy smoke coming from the first and second floors,” Rupert said.

Firefighters from Hughesville, Picture Rocks, Pennsdale, Clinton Township and Warrior Run Area also responded.

Firefighters donned self-contained breathing apparatus and extinguished the fire with two hoses in a matter of minutes, Rupert said.

The fire originated in and was confined to one apartment that spans the first and second floors, according to investigators, who declined to release the name of the man who lived there.

Cpl. Nicholas A. Loffredo, a state police fire marshal, was called to the scene and he determined that the fire was intentionally set. He estimated damage to be about $30,000. He referred all other questions to Borough Police Chief James Dorman.

“There were multiple points of origin,” Dorman confirmed, meaning that more than one fire was set in the man’s apartment.

The tenant was taken to Muncy Valley Hospital to be evaluated, officials said. The local chapter of the American Red Cross was called to offer him emergency assistance.

All the other tenants could return to their apartments, Rupert said.

Dorman said no one has been charged, but the investigation, which will involve the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office, was ongoing.