Fire department news

A fire broke out Friday at an apartment building at 962 Mead Ave. in Corry, and this time, it was ruled accidental.

On Dec. 21, a fire took place in the same building and the investigation was turned over to Corry City Police and the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal due to suspicious circumstances, as previously reported in The Corry Journal.

That incident was ruled as arson from an incendiary device, Corry Police Chief Rich Shopene said.

Corry Fire Department was dispatched at 5:25 p.m., on Friday, for an apartment fire after the owner, Pat Catalfu, spotted fire going up the wall of the building. The apartment building is located behind Catalfu's home.

Corry Fire Chief Jim Lathrop said that an occupant was refinishing wood furniture outside, on the front deck, and after the person put away the combustible products and left, rags that were used had been placed in a plastic bag.

The plastic bag was left in the sun and spontaneously combusted, Lathrop said.

"They weren't gone very long, but that little bit of sun pretty much just baked it and got it burning. One thing led to another and thank God the owner caught it when he did," Lathrop said. "When he looked from his house, it caught his attention."

Engine 102 was first on scene and first responders saw flames coming from the peak of the roof upon arriving, Lathrop stated.

There is one apartment downstairs and two upstairs. Only two of the apartments currently have tenants, whose names are not currently being released, but neither couple was home at the time of the fire, Lathrop went on to say.

The deck is shared between the two upstairs apartments and has the look of a privacy fence, Lathrop said.

The fire climbed up the fencing and went into a vent to the attic so when firefighters arrived and realized where the fire was, Lathrop said they knew where to go because they had been there before.

Mutual aid was received from Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department, Wrightsville Fire Department, Corry Ambulance and Corry City Police, who shut down Mead Avenue until traffic control could arrive, Lathrop said.

Neighbors helped by bringing firefighters water and the American Red Cross is helping both tenants of the building with relocation, Lathrop said.

"If you are using linseed, acetone, those type of flammable materials, get those rags either into a metal fire safe container or get them outside away from buildings," Lathrop advised.

Fire crews were back in service by 7:30 p.m., Lathrop said.

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