Email: ‘Fire bomb’ thrown into Children and Youth Services building

Times Leader staff reports | March 6th, 2017 9:24 am - updated: 8:11 am.

Times Leader Surveillance video from the Times Leader production building of the Monday morning ‘firebombing’ of the Luzerne County Human Services Building on Pennsylvania Ave. For a detailed timeline of the video footage, please see the Fact Box below.

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO TIMELINE

In footage of the surveillance video:

— 10 seconds into the video (5:37:05): The first flash of light indicating an alledged firebomb being thrown into the executive director’s office window.

— 35 seconds (5:37:30): Fire begins inside the human services building.

— 56 seconds (5:37:51): The fire appears to be extingushed by the building’s sprinklers system.

— 5:55 (approximately 5:42:53): A car pulls into the county building parking lot.

— 7:38 (approximately 5:47:30): The first of the emergency vehicles arrive on scene.

WILKES-BARRE — The Luzerne County human services building on Pennsylvania Avenue was closed Monday after someone threw a “fire bomb” into an office, according to an email to county council members.

In the email, council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck told fellow members she was informed Children and Youth Executive Director Joanne Van Saun’s office was the one targeted.

A fire at the building at approximately 5:37 a.m. Monday was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system, District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said.

She added the incident is under investigation, and there are several potential leads for persons of interest. She declined to offer further details.

“Based on the circumstances, this is an active criminal investigation,” Salavantis said.

County Manager C. David Pedri said the building would be reopened today with crisis counselors on site to provide counseling for those who needed it.

Salavantis said it was not known how long the investigation would take, and she declined to provide specifics on how the fire started.

The building contains the offices for the county’s Human Services Division, including Children and Youth, drug and alcohol programs, and Mental Health and Developmental Services. The Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming counties is also located there.

Pedri said there was never a lapse in coverage during the day.

“All emergency calls for the Children and Youth division were diverted to on-call workers,” he said in a news release.

State Police and Wilkes-Barre police and firefighters were at the scene along with numerous agents from the Luzerne County Sheriff’s Office.

For other local news stories, click here.

Check back at www.timesleader.com for updates.

The rear of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre that houses Luzerne County Children and Youth offices is shown roped off as a crime scene after a reported fire bombing Monday.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_TTL030617CandY1-18.jpgThe rear of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre that houses Luzerne County Children and Youth offices is shown roped off as a crime scene after a reported fire bombing Monday. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Signs taped to the front door advise the building was closed Monday.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_TTL030617CandY2-18.jpgSigns taped to the front door advise the building was closed Monday. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said there are ‘several potential leads for persons of interest’ in the reported fire bombing of a Children and Youth office.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_TTL030617CandY3-18.jpgDistrict Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said there are ‘several potential leads for persons of interest’ in the reported fire bombing of a Children and Youth office. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Children and Youthoffice targeted, email says

Times Leader staff reports

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO TIMELINE

In footage of the surveillance video:

— 10 seconds into the video (5:37:05): The first flash of light indicating an alledged firebomb being thrown into the executive director’s office window.

— 35 seconds (5:37:30): Fire begins inside the human services building.

— 56 seconds (5:37:51): The fire appears to be extingushed by the building’s sprinklers system.

— 5:55 (approximately 5:42:53): A car pulls into the county building parking lot.

— 7:38 (approximately 5:47:30): The first of the emergency vehicles arrive on scene.

Reach Times Leader newsroom at 570-829-7100 or on Twitter @TLnews.

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Video Caption:Surveillance video from the Times Leader production building of the Monday morning ‘firebombing’ of the Luzerne County Human Services Building on Pennsylvania Ave. For a detailed timeline of the video footage, please see the Fact Box below.
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