A cooking fire at Barker Street Apartments in Hawley Saturday led to an evacuation of the residents, who are mainly senior citizens.

A cooking fire at Barker Street Apartments in Hawley Saturday led to an evacuation of the residents, who are mainly senior citizens.
Hawley Fire Chief Eugene E. Krause supplied the following information.
Barker Street Apartments
On Saturday, February 23, at 11:02 a.m. Hawley Firefighters responded to a working apartment fire at 615 Barker Street, Barker Street Apartments, Apartment 405.
Upon arrival at 11:07 a.m. firefighters found fire from the apartment had extended into the hallway and the sprinkler head outside the apartment flowing water. Hawley firefighters quickly knocked down the remaining fire in the kitchen area of the apartment, and made sure that the fire did not extend into the adjoining apartment. Every two apartments are protected by a concrete firewall.
Firefighters from White Mills and Forest Volunteer, and Honesdale Texas No. 4, assisted with evacuating the residents of the building to the community room and checking every room to make sure all tenants were out of their apartments and ventilating the building. Hawley Ambulance and Medics from Honesdale Ambulance checked out tenants in the community room and two tenants were transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital to be further checked out.
Additional fire companies from Lakeville, Tafton, Central Volunteer, Honesdale and Hemlock Farms were additionally dispatched also due to the report of a working fire and number of tenants in the building, and these were canceled after the fire was quickly knocked down.
After the initial search of the building, a second search was done of all floors to make sure that no one was still in their apartments and to make sure that all stoves, ovens, and any kind of heaters were turned off.
Fire damage was confined to the apartment and the hallway just outside the apartment, with some water damage on floors one through four and some smoke odor on the fifth floor of the building on the River Street half of the building.
Wayne County Housing Authority managers, and maintenance staff were on scene and worked to soak up the water, along with Hawley Firefighters that was approximately one inch deep on the fire floor from the sprinkler system, and had run down through the building, into some of the apartments below.
Building managers allowed tenants to return to their apartments after each apartment was checked by the Housing Authority and arrangements were being made to find housing for those on the fourth floor near the fire until they could be cleaned, and dried out. There are 73 apartments in the building.
The State Police Fire Marshal determined Sunday that the fire started from cooking food. As of Sunday, two people were still not back in their apartments. The woman who rents the apartment where the fire occurred was still in the hospital, and another resident was waiting for power to be restored before moving back in.
Chief  Krause said that the total operation went well with no injuries to firefighters, and had high praise for the emergency personnel responding and the job they did, but that there were a few problems encountered.
Getting the tenants to leave their apartments on their own was a problem, which the Chief stated is always encountered when fire drills are held at the building. “Tenants do not want to leave their apartments and have to be told that they need to evacuate the building, which causes more people to be in the building when firefighters arrive,” said Krause. Some tenants had to be carried down the stairs because they could not physically walk down the stairs to evacuate; this was known by fire department personnel, after being told by tenants at fire drills.
Radio problems were encountered with the command post being able to receive and transmit clear messages to the County Communications Center to request additional resources. This was improved when the command post changed from the County Low-Band radio frequency to the County High-Band radio frequency and clear communications were established.
Forest Volunteer, White Mills and Texas #4 returned to station at around 12 noon and Hawley firefighters returned to station at 1:07 p.m. There were approximately 40 emergency personnel on scene.
This was the second fire in the building in recent years; in 2006 there was a fire in a trash can in an apartment on the sixth floor of the building.