Fire Destroys Delaware County Building

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jul 14, 2009 at 10:10 PM EDT

12 people rushed out of a 2-story building after a fiery explosion in Delaware County.

22 Read Street in Hancock housed 7 apartments and a store front.

As Action News Reporter Leigh Dana tells us, the owner was trying to fix it up before this mornings fire destroyed the building.

"Thank God they are alright," cries Patricia Saunders, who is shaking and in shock.

Her apartment is in shambles, but she's relieved he 2 cats are safe.

Firefighters spent most of the day putting out the flames that ripped through this building on Read Street.

Practically everything was destroyed.

Kelly Ann Garcia did not want to talk on camera but believes a candle in her bathroom may have caught the wall on fire.

Fire investigators suspect it was fueled by a gas leak.

Delaware County Fire Coordinator says,"The tenants have told us they had some issues earlier in the week because it's so old, the pipes are frail that may cause a problem in another part of the building."

I spoke with the owner of the building who says he's been renovating it for the past 21 months.

He put about $12,000 into it.

And he actually had to close the store downstairs because it wasn't doing so well.

It was a woman's accessory shop.

But fortunately for him, some of his stuff was recovered including a few heirlooms that were about a hundred years old and this mannequin dressed in yellow and also this doll is in pretty good condition because it's wrapped in plastic.

What remains of the building will be torn down.

The Delaware County Red Cross responded to help the 10 people who lived in the apartments.

"Right now, we're trying to make sure they have a place to stay, clothes to wear, food, until other arrangements can be made," says Elinor Oles with the Red Cross.

"The people in the town are really good they come and take care of you," says tenant Florence Rodriquez.

Although Rodriquez has nothing left but the clothes she escaped in, she plans to rebuild her life one day at a time.

Fire Investigators are looking into the exact cause.

In the Village of Hancock, Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.

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