WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A fire closed a nail salon Saturday afternoon right up the road from where a tornado caused a wide swath of damage just several days before.
At approximately 1 p.m., first responders got a call that smoke was coming from Casabella Nails & Spa at 101 Bear Creek Boulevard in the Bear Creek Commons.
When rescuers arrived, smoke was spewing from the building.
Officials quickly made sure everyone was evacuated. There were no injuries reported.
“At the earliest Monday we will be able to determine the cause of the fire,” said township fire chief Rich Hart.
Tony Nguyen, an employee at Casabella, was not really aware of what was going on.
“I saw smoke coming out of the back, so I went to check the circuits,” Nguyen said. “But I evacuated all the customers first before leaving.”
Two employees of Moe’s Southwest Grill — only a few doors down from the salon — were able to help evacuate customers and try to put out the flames.
“(We) smelled smoke while we were in the back of Moe’s,” general manager Justin Sokol said. “We went and told the nail salon and they said that everything was fine.”
“Obviously, things weren’t fine,” Sokol added. “That’s when we started to evacuate patrons in our store first.”
Sokol and Lucas Kasloski grabbed an extra fire extinguisher from the dormant Hoopla Frozen Yogurt store that went out of business.
“To me, it appeared the smoke and flames were coming from the nail salon’s water heater,” Sokol said. “I just tried to extinguish the flames before it could spread, but once it started spewing back at me I had to leave.”
“The nail salon had a problem with its water heater three months ago,” added Kasloski. “That time it was more controlled.”
Luckily, responders were able to get there in time before the fire could spread to other businesses.
Besides the salon and Moe’s, the Bear Creek Commons is home to Jersey Mike’s Subs, Sports Clips and Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s unclear when those businesses will reopen.
Wilkes-Barre Township was the first to respond before being joined by rescuers from Hanover Township, Ashley, Plains, Pittston, Nanticoke and Kingston.