NBC10 - Doug Shimell
NBC10's Doug Shimell reports from Forks Township where residents are calling for justice after a restaurant fire left them homeless. Officials are calling the fire suspicious.
Police say a domestic dispute may have led to a fire at a former Lehigh Valley hotel that's been converted into a boarding house and restaurant.
Officials say they first received a call for a domestic dispute at the Mineral Springs Hotel on N Delaware Drive in Easton, Pa. around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There is a restaurant on the first floor of the building, called the Mineral Springs Bar and Grill.
Police say there was an altercation between a man and a woman living in the 17-unit building, which was built in the early 1800s. During the incident, police say the woman called 911 and threatened to start a fire.
Shortly after that, a fire broke out at the building and quickly went to two alarms, according to Northampton County dispatchers.
The entire building was evacuated. Police say the two people involved in the initial dispute, two other residents, and two Forks Township Police Officers were all taken to the hospital.
Fire companies from at least a dozen areas were called to the scene. Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control around 4:40 p.m. Officials say there are no fire hydrants in the area which made it difficult to combat the fire.
"This is an unhydrated area," said Folks Township Assistant Fire Chief Bill Carver. “We had to draft out of two different sites from the Delaware River in order to create a water supply in order to give the ladder trucks water to get the fire out.”
Detectives say they currently can't speak to the woman and man involved in the initial domestic dispute because they are both in a burn unit at a local hospital. Officials say both of them are critical pieces in their investigation however.
"We really need to have some time to sit down with both of those people independently," said Forks Township Police Chief Greg Dorney. "Ask all those questions of each one of them to try to fit the pieces together."
The Northampton County District Attorney says he will await the results of the investigation to determine if any charges will be filed, something that residents who were left homeless by the blaze are hoping will happen.
"Everything is gone," said Fabienne Dure, one of the 12 displaced residents. "So we'll get to check it out and see what's left but that's everything. So I gotta start over. I guess they're gonna have to have a trial. They'll judge her and she'll pay for what she did."
The Red Cross is currently assisting the seven families displaced by the fire.