Flames Hit Historic Building in Luzerne County | News
Huge flames early Sunday morning hit a well-known building in one Luzerne County community, damaging four businesses and leaving four people homeless.
Firefighters were called back to Lantern Lane on South Main Street in Conyngham to put out hot spots as a state police fire marshal tried to figure out how an early-morning fire started.
"This is kind of an iconic landmark here in Conyngham. You say Lantern Lane, everybody knows where Lantern Lane is," said Attorney Conrad Falvello, who owns Falvello Law Firm in the building.
Investigators believe the fire started in the rear stairwell of the building around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Huge flames heavily damaged four apartments on the second floor. Two tenants were not home at the time and two women in their early 90s had to be rescued. Firefighters had to bring one woman down off the porch roof.
Some neighbors went into the building to save the other woman.
"The smoke was so bad, I couldn't breathe, couldn't see," said Allen Culp, who ran to help. "Just got down on my knees and I pulled my shirt up over my face and crawled. One gentleman got to the elderly lady and passed her down to other people who were waiting."
Lantern Lane also housed four businesses, which all had water damage: Dr. Richard Grovich's dentist office, M & L Trucking Inc., a financial planning business and Conrad Falvello's law firm.
"The fire company, again, they were terrific, they put tarps over our files so I think we'll be able to salvage them," said Falvello.
The owner said Lantern Lane has been around since the 1920s and is an important part of Conyngham's history. He vowed to do everything he can to rebuild.
"It started as a General Motors garage, then was a bank, and it just kept going from there. It's constantly changing with the times so it's a little loss of history, but what we'll do is we'll do everything we can to make it back," said owner Ken Temborski.
"The four rentals upstairs, they lost everything and it's a sad day, but we'll bounce back. We're real strong, strong town," added Conyngham mayor Joe Carrelli.
A state police fire marshal has not yet released a cause for the fire.
Investigators said neighbors reported hearing people talking in the rear of the building just before the fire started.
Anyone with information should call state police at Hazleton at 570-459-3890.
A fund has been set up to help the tenants affected by the fire. Donations to the "Lantern Lane Fire Victims" fund can be dropped off or sent to any KNBT or National Penn bank branch..