Bethlehem Park feels effects of Lackawanna fire

Lackawanna Fire Impacts On Neighbors

BETHLEHEM PARK, N.Y. - Evacuations were lifted for the Bethlehem Park area as of 2 p.m. Thursday but the mayor of Lackawanna said the state of emergency would continue for thirty days. 
 
By Friday afternoon, some of the neighbors, who had heeded the mayor's call to evacuate, were returning to their Bethlehem Park homes while others had never left.
 
Neighbor Jesse Susi said the smoke wasn't affecting his home enough to make him leave. 
 
"I live on this street so it was blowing diagonal, away from all these houses on this street," Susi explained.
 
Susi said there was a burning smell in the air but he had also heard the evacuation shelter did not allow pets, so he and his family stayed with their dog. 
 
He was not alone. Other Bethlehem Park neighbors received the phone call or door knock, suggesting that they go but told 2 On Your Side that they stayed. Many of these people chose to seal up their windows and doors and wait it out instead. 
 
Just a couple of streets over, Lynn Illg returned to her home Friday afternoon, just 24 hours after evacuating with her husband and dog. 
 
"The winds shifted and the plume just sat here over the last probably two or three blocks," Illg explained of what she saw Thursday. "The smell was very intense. It was almost like a plastic. You get some burning in your through." 
 
Illg was able to stay with family but the Red Cross said that 13 people stayed at their evacuation site at Lackawanna High School. 
 
Even though evacuations were lifted Friday, the Red Cross kept the site open Friday overnight for anyone who wanted to get out of the area one more night. 
 
Local businesses also turned out for the people affected by the fire and smoke. 
 
Daisies Cafe in Lackawanna is offering free meals for anyone affected. They said they want to support the community that supports them. 
 
"If they don't have the funds to go out to eat or they have to stay in a shelter or something because they don't have family, you know it's hard to find a meal when you're taken away from your home," Sarah McConkey, a server, said. 


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