More about the Meadville fire that took one life and displaced many others

Local News

A devastating apartment fire in Meadville claims the life of one man and leaves 11 people homeless. The fire spreading quickly, destroying a building that stood for 155 years.  

Chief of Meadville Fire Department, Evan Hasko, tells us, “With the age of the structure, it went up quick”.  He says when firefighters arrived on the scene of this fire on Terrace Street, they knew they didn’t have much of a chance to save the historical building, turned apartment house.

Just after 1:45 Friday morning, fire broke out and within minutes had taken over the building.  When the first fire departments arrived, some tenants were already out of the building.

Hasko says, “We had one subject on the front porch that we rescued and two subjects on the back porch, we rescued with ground ladders”.

For the next several hours, firefighters poured thousands of gallons of water on the fire. The owner of the building lives across the street.

The owner of the building, John Kleffel, told us, “I have security cameras in the house and I live here, woke up and looked out and just gone through the office and could see security cameras for these houses start to flicker then disappeared.”

Most of the tenants were able to make it out okay, but one person remained unaccounted for.  

The tenants who were burned out of the house were taken to the Crawford County Mental Health Building for the night.

Executive Director of that facility, Lynn McUmber, tells us, “You would hope that if something like this happened to you or a loved one there’s a safe and warm place to get your feet on the ground.”

Because of the severity of the fire and the demolition of the building, investigators say they will list the cause as undetermined.

The identity of the man and cause of death has not yet been released.  Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell is working on making a positive ID.

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