JERSEY SHORE - Tuesday night's fire that extensively damaged a second-floor apartment at 1122 Allegheny St. in Jersey Shore apparently was accidental.
Attempts to reach the state police fire marshal investigating the blaze were unsuccessful, but the investigator told WNEP the 7:40 p.m. fire was sparked by discarded smoking materials in a wastebasket.
Eight people who lived in the apartment building were left homeless as a result of the fire that was in the apartment where Terry and Peggy Rose lived with their son, Joseph.
While the couple was not home, Joseph, believed to be in his 20s, was in the apartment.
There were conflicting reports on how the young man escaped the fire.
Doug Bertin, who lived with his girlfriend and the couple's 5-year-old son in the apartment next to the Rose family, claimed he pulled Joseph from the smoke-filled apartment.
However, Robert Sheets, chief of the borough's Independent Hose Co., said he was told that Rose jumped from a window. Rose, his girlfriend and her baby, who were visiting, were treated at Jersey Shore Hospital, investigators confirmed.
"The intial attack crew (of firefighters) did a wonderful job in keeping the fire contained to the front room where it originated," Sheets said. The three other apartments in the building sustained minor to moderate smoke and water damage, he said.
Most of the fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes, but firefighters remained on the scene for more than two hours.
Bertin's family and the Rose family are staying with friends or relatives as are Danielle Pratt and her daughter who lived on the first floor but were not home when the fire broke out. Bertin's family and Pratt had no renter's insurance, but the Rose family did.
The building is owned by Steve and Joan Reighard of Jersey Shore. Reighard said he has fire insurance and he hopes to have the necessary repairs done to the building so the tenants can move back in sometime in the summer.
No damage estimate was available, but Sheets termed damage to the room where the fire started as "heavy."
Careless disposal of smoking materials also was ruled the cause of Friday's garage fire at 423 Penn St. in Williamsport, city Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach said.
That blaze destroyed the garage and damaged two homes. Damage from the fire was estimated in excess of $70,000, Heinbach said.