Firefighters swarmed the former Scranton Lace Co. building Wednesday afternoon after heavy flames engulfed the first floor, sending thick smoke through the building.
A large pile of debris, where the fire may have started, still smoldered an hour and a half after the 4 p.m. call to the Albright Avenue side of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Al Lucas said. Workers using acetylene and oxygen torches were in the building earlier in the day.
Inspectors still need to determine the cause and origin, Chief Lucas said.
To fight the flames, crews poured water from ladder trucks through the old factory’s windows. Crews moved inside after gaining control from the outside. No one was injured fighting the fire, Chief Lucas said.
Checking to see whether flames had spread through the building was a time-consuming process; the complex is more than 600,000 square feet.
The damage from the blaze largely appeared to be contained to the area around the pile of debris, which included old doors and timber, on the first floor, acting Assistant Chief Jim Cooney said.
“I don’t believe there was a lot of structural damage,” Assistant Chief Cooney said. “That seemed to be the seed of the fire.”
The fire generated significant amounts of smoke, but Assistant Chief Cooney said many windows were already open or broken, creating ventilation that limited smoke damage.
The building has stood for more than a century and was once the nation’s largest manufacturer of Nottingham-style lace products, including tablecloths, napkins and curtains. At its peak, the Scranton Lace Co. employed 1,400 people.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, @jkohutTT on TwitterN. Main fire displaces 2 families
Two Scranton families were displaced when fire spread through a multiunit home on North Main Avenue on Wednesday.
City firefighters were called to 1031-1033 N. Main Ave. at 6:23 p.m., shortly after leaving the scene of a fire at the former Scranton Lace Co. building.
Acting Assistant Chief Jim Cooney said the fire started downstairs, spread to the second floor and through both side-by-side units. He said there were three people in one unit and five in the other when the fire started, but no one was injured.