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12 displaced by Northampon County fire

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 22 2013 09:00:14 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 23 2013 01:34:07 PM CDT

Fire ravages a bar and apartment building in Northampton County.

FORKS TWP., Pa. -

Fire ravaged a bar and apartment building in Northampton County on Tuesday.

Four people are hospitalized and numerous others have been left without homes.  Now investigators are asking: Was the fire caused by a criminal act?

The Red Cross confirmed seven families -- nine adults and three children -- have come to them asking for help.

The initial call was for a domestic dispute at the Mineral Springs Bar and Restaurant early Tuesday afternoon. One man said he heard arguing and then a woman started yelling she would set the place on fire.

That man, speaking with 69 News on Tuesday, said it is tough to believe a person living in the building allegedly started the fire. Now a lot of people have lost everything.

Twenty-four police, fire and EMS departments answered the call for the fire.

"I work nights, I was asleep and then somebody just knocked on my door. Then I woke up and I saw fire," said Evans Marube, a resident of the building.

Crews used everything possible to gain control of the blaze. Water from every angle and even foam but just when it looked like the blaze was out more fire appeared in another part of the building.

"I was at my grandparents' house and he called me and said our apartment is on fire," said Rebecca Grant, another person living in the building. "I was like are you serious?"

The initial call to authorities came in as a domestic dispute. Evans Marube said he may have heard the whole thing.

"They were arguing with a guy and then she says, 'I'm going to put this place on fire,'" said Marube.

People in the building said there are 18 apartments above the bar and restaurant.

Many like Rebecca Grant had to watch everything they own go up in flames.

"I'm numb. I'm numb right now," said Grant. "My stuff is in there, his stuff is in there."

"It's horrible because I am feeling cold now and I don't know where to go," added Marube.

The Red Cross is helping but some wonder what will happen when the help runs out.

"They're all being provided immediate lodging, support for food, clothing, and shoes, which is unfortunately something people need when they have to leave a building very quickly," said Peter Brown, regional chief executive for the American Red Cross.

"I have to find a place to live," said Marube. "It's going to be very hard for me. It's really horrible."

Two of the four people transported to the hospital were police officers. They were treated for smoke inhalation. The conditions of the other two people are unknown.