Lackawanna resident Jack Pirowski first thought the screams late Wednesday night might be coming from a television set in his son’s room.
But when he went to the dining room window around 10:20 p.m., he saw flames shooting from the apartment building across the street and people yelling for help.
Pirowski, 49, and his 19-year-old son, Zachary, jumped into action, helping rescue five tenants from the fast-moving blaze at 200 Center St.
No one was hurt in the fire, but it could have been far worse without the intervention of the father, son and other neighbors, according to city officials.
Firefighters “all told me if it wasn’t for Jack Pirowski and his son Zachary, people would have died because it was a gasoline fire and it was going good,” said Dana Britton, the city’s public safety director.
The Pirowskis, along with neighbor Robert Lowe, helped catch two tenants from a second-floor overhang.
Zachary Pirowski then brought over a ladder from his driveway and used it to lead three more tenants to safety.
“There were three other people up there and they just did not want to jump,” said Zachary Pirowski, who had been in his room playing video games.
The Pirowskis said they did not know any of the tenants.
“It was just instinct, I guess, to go and try to help them,” Jack Pirowski said.
“After everything was said and done, they all came up to us and hugged us and said ‘Thank you so much, we appreciate it,’ ” Zachary Pirowski added.
The fire was ruled an arson, but police did not have any suspects.
“The fire was set on the stairs going up to the second floor,” Lackawanna Police Capt. Joseph Leo said.
Gasoline also was used to ignite a couch in a second-floor apartment of the eight-unit, brick building, police said. A burnt gas can was found at the scene. The Red Cross assisted four people.
Smoke and water damaged the building.