DICKSON CITY -- Midvalley firefighters and Lackawanna County emergency teams battled flames and the specter of chlorine gas Tuesday night as Northeast Pools and Spas was destroyed by fire. Flames broke out at the one-story building on Business Route 6 just before 8 p.m., and firefighters had it under control by 9 p.m. Dickson City Fire Chief Tony Zaleski said the cause of the fire is under investigation by state police.
Jon Tischler, business manager at neighboring Dickson City Hyundai, said he noticed an orange glow at 7:55 p.m.
"I went in to call 911. Then I came back out a minute later and the whole thing was going up," he said.
With the fire under control after flames rose as high as 30 feet, a hazardous materials team cleared the area to deal with dangerous chlorine gases possibly released into the air from the chemicals in the store.
Bob Flanagan, the director of the Lackawanna County Emergency Management Agency, said chlorine gas was detected at the scene but not in concentrations that would be harmful.
He said air-quality tests at the scene and in downtown Dickson City proved safe. Mr. Flanagan said water runoff was also neutral.
"We could have had a major problem here, but we avoided it," Mr. Flanagan said.
No one was hurt in the blaze, but dozens of firefighters were treated on the scene for possible reaction to the chlorine gas.
Chief Zaleski said at least 50 firefighters complained of skin irritation and breathing problems. Mr. Flanagan said 10 firefighters and two PPL workers were taken Mid-Valley Hospital in Blakely and Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale for treatment.
It was the second fire at the business in nine months. A storage building at its former location -- just across the street from its current location -- burned in April.
Northeast Pools and Spas also has locations in Avoca and Wilkes-Barre.
İScranton Times Tribune 2002