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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Apartment fire ruled arson

  • ***Tenants left day before big blaze ***Fire broke out in an apartment building in downtown Hawley, early Thursday, less than a day after all of the tenants moved out. The State Police Fire Marshal has declared it an arson. The long and narrow, two-story building at 202 Chestnut Avenue stood at the corner with ...
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  •   Fire broke out in an apartment building in downtown Hawley, early Thursday, less than a day after all of the tenants moved out. The State Police Fire Marshal has declared it an arson.
        The long and narrow, two-story building at 202 Chestnut Avenue stood at the corner with River Street directly opposite the Hawley Ambulance garage. Fire  was already coming out the windows when Hawley Fire Department was called out at about 6:30 a.m.; three hours later, an excavator was on scene ready to tear it down at the fire company's command.
       Fire Chief Scott Mead said he was not clear why the tenants moved or how many tenants were living there. He said they occupied two apartments, downstairs. Mead said the landlord, who he said was Ed Goodwin, had been in the building the day before. The landlord was on scene Thursday.
       Fire was coming out the first story doors and windows when fire trucks pulled up, Mead said. Fire was also starting to come out the second story windows. Deputy Chief Eugene Krause said he saw the thick pillar of smoke as he headed down Spruce Street to the morning fire.
       The fire started on the first floor inside the front door. From the Chestnut Avenue side, the most
    visible damage was across the middle on both floors. No other information has been released on the cause.
       Mead said that because fire had compromised the interior floors and that the structure is right in a residential neighborhood, they were having the remains taken down quickly. He stated that the burned structure would present a safety hazard to the curious.
       Fire spread quickly in the old building, which as was typical in its day, was constructed with sides that go straight up to the roof. There was double planking, and a metal roof which helped keep the heat inside. Shingles and tarpaper were still beneath the metal, making a thick layer. Firefighters cut holes in the roof to allow ventilation.
        Firefighters accessed the burning building from a second floor window because of the fire damage below. The chief said they were able to knock down the blaze quickly. There were still some fire in pockets they could not reach, which he said was another reason they had to have the building taken down.
      Mead said that there was no injuries.
       White Mills, Lakeville and Forest Volunteer fire departments assisted, and Hawley Ambulance was on scene. Fire Police directed traffic away from the area.
        Hawley Fire Department was back at station at 12:08 p.m.
         The house is listed on several Realtor web sites, but marked “not for sale” on some. They state the building had four bedrooms. One listing said it was suitable possible for a “mother/daughter” or a family desiring two living spaces.
    Page 2 of 2 -     The lot where the apartment house stood was the site of a private school operated by the late Dr. George T. Rodman's aunt and uncle, Katurah (Longstreet) and James T. Rodman, who raised him. The “Select School” operated in the 1860's and 1870's. This is not thought to have been the same building. The Realtor listings dated the house to 1900 or 1910. Dr. Rodman died in 1956 after a 70-year medical career in Hawley.
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