Lloyd Street blaze leaves six homeless
Amber Faivre and a friend only had about another 10 feet to go to reach the front door.
The two women were carrying a smoldering mattress from Faivre’s second floor to the first, trying to get it outside when it suddenly erupted into flames at 621 Lloyd St. about 9:30 a.m. Monday.
As flames quickly spread throughout the home, Unit 5, both women made it out safely as did about a dozen other tenants who live in the row of eight connected rental properties just north of Memorial Park. Faivre’s 9-year-old daughter was at a neighbor’s at the time of the fire.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, city fire Platoon Chief Sam Aungst said.
“Everyone is out except my dog and two cats,” Faivre told a reporter outside her home as she tried to comfort her distraught daughter, who was inconsolable as she watched smoke pour from the home.
“It was really getting smoky in my daughter’s bedroom. I lifted up the mattress and saw that it was smoking,” Faivre said.
She yelled to a friend outside “Come up (stairs),” she told fire officials. The friend entered the home and helped Faivre maneuver the mattress down the stairwell.
“We were carrying it downstairs when it just engulfed (in flames). We dropped it and ran out,” Faivre said.
Among the many others who fled to safety was Denyse Sedorchuk and a roommate.
“We heard a loud bang on the door. We were on the third floor. We came downstairs and tried to get out the front door, but the smoke was just billowing in from six doors down. We had to go out the back door and then hop over a fence,” Sedorchuk said.
Constables Pete DiBart and James Krape were serving a summary warrant in the neighborhood when one of the tenants in the row of houses came out and told them there was a fire inside one of the units.
“We looked into Unit 5 and there were flames coming down the stairway. We made sure everyone was getting out of the houses here. There was a small child on the porch, just frozen, petrified. I picked him up and carried him (out of harm’s way),” DiBart said.
“It was crazy. It was spreading fast,” he added.
When firefighters pulled up on the scene, they were faced “with heavy fire on the first floor in the middle of a row of homes. The fire was extending across the roof and there were multiple reports of people trapped,” city Fire Chief Mark Killian said. Those reports were unfounded. Everyone was already out.
The fire went to a second alarm in a matter of minutes, bringing additional city firefighters and volunteer firemen from Old Lycoming Township, South Williamsport and Montoursville to the scene. Most of the fire was contained in about 20 minutes.
The fire damaged Faivre’s unit as well as the adjoining homes on her left and right, leaving a total of six people homeless, Aungst said.
Among those who got out in the nick of time was Penny Edkin and her roommate Steve Wright.
“I was upstairs in bed sleeping and the smoke woke me up,” Edkin said. She said smoke alarms in her home were going off.
Faivre’s unit was destroyed while Edkin’s home and another where John Hill and his 7-year-old daughter lived both sustained a moderate amount of smoke and heat damage, Aungst said. Damage to the structure and loss of contents was in excess of $60,000, Aungst said.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting the displaced families.