Monday, September 30, 2013

Three Confirmed Dead in Spring Garden Street Fire, Smoke Detectors Missing

By Christina Georgiou

An Easton police officer stands in the doorway
of 724 Spring Garden Street in the early hours
of Monday morning. Three people died, and
another three were injured in a fast-moving fire
that started on the second floor. Only the
resident of the first floor apartment escaped
the blaze unharmed.
Three people--a man, a woman., and a four-year-old boy--lost their lives in a fast-moving  fire that broke out in a second- and third-story apartment at 724 Spring Garden St. early this morning, Easton Mayor Sal Panto has confirmed.

The man and the child died at the scene, while the woman died of extensive burns at a hospital shortly thereafter, he said.

Authorities know their identities, but are withholding their names until their families can be notified.

Three other residents reportedly remain hospitalized with smoke inhalation, and one suffered burns as well, the mayor said.

A total of six people lived in the upstairs apartment, which was gutted in the blaze.

First-floor resident Kris Thompson escaped the blaze unharmed.

When asked at the scene, he said his apartment lacked smoke detectors.

While mounting brackets were found for smoke detectors, none were actually present in the building, the mayor said, and their lack likely contributed to the severity of the fire and the resulting fatalities.

"(This incident) continues to show the importance of early (fire) detection," he said.

"It's a very tragic day in the City of Easton," Panto added.

City Administrator Glenn Steckman said it's too soon to tell whether the property owner, listed as Ellen Moskella of Bethlehem Township according to online county property records, will be cited for any code violations for the lack of detectors.

"We need to let the fire marshal do his job and find out all the facts before we make that determination," Steckmann said.

The apartment was properly registered with the city, but the date of its last inspection was not immediately available. City ordinances require that rental units be inspected every three years.

Smoke detectors are available free of charge to city residents from the Easton Fire Department, which recommends having the life-saving devices on every floor and in every bedroom.  Residents can call the department at 610-258-6672 to arrange installation of smoke detectors.

Updated at 11:42 a.m.

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