A three-story residence on Third Street in Mansfield, between Penn Avenue and Sycamore Street, suffered a fire Wednesday evening. Heavy smoke rolled and flames were visible from the upper floors of the building as light rain fell. The eight residents of the building were not injured, but the building suffered extensive damage.
"I would say that 50 percent of the building is beyond repair," Harlan Barrick, a fire inspector and investigator with the Fire Prevention Bureau estimated. He said that firefighters encountered heavy smoke upon arrival with a fire that originated in an unoccupied second floor apartment.
The fire was discovered by third floor residents who noticed smoke coming through their vents.
Juanita Brown, a resident of the first floor, said, "The neighbor upstairs, she came down and told us her apartment was filling with smoke, so we started to go out and I was like maybe its just something small and we can, you know, go try to put it out. We got to the top of the steps and the whole hall was just full of smoke."
Brown's son Nickoli D'Avanzo said he was in the second story with other residents when the blaze started. "I was sitting upstairs with [other residents], hanging out, and then from the vents from the middle of the apartment, their vents, black smoke just started coming in. So we just ran out as fast as we could and grabbed as much stuff as we could and told everybody to get out."
Barrick said that by the time the fire department arrived, the structure had a room and content fire on the second floor. The flames burned into the third floor and eventually burned through the roof. The first floor suffered no fire damage but did sustain water damage.
The fire brought seven units to the scene. Barrick reported that the department deployed five engines and two rescue (ambulance) units.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.