Around 6:30 a.m. today, all four Tamaqua fire companies, rescue squad and ambulance responded quickly to a "smoke in structure" call at the home of 310 E. Broad St., (SR209).
Homeowners in the residence were awakened by their CO2 detectors and then by smoke rising from the basement. The homeowner, thinking it might be his furnace, turned off his furnace, but noticed that didn't stop the smoke. Further investigation by the responding firefighters found the smoke and CO2 to be emanating from their adjacent neighbor's basement, located at 312 E. Broad St.
Firefighters placed large exhaust fans at numerous entry and exit points to expel the smoke. A malfunctioning furnace was found to be the cause of the smoke.
A nearby neighbor stated, "Thank God the neighbor had working CO2 detectors. That little device probably saved their lives." He also added, "Everyone should check their furnaces and chimneys the same time they replace their detector batteries."
Tamaqua Fire Chief Tom Hartz Sr stressed the heavy importance of having and checking smoke and CO2 detectors regularly. Fire police closed that section of the street during the response. As of last year, it is mandatory for Tamaqua landlords to install and maintain smoke and CO2 detectors in their buildings, but currently not required in private residences.
Hartz stated, "Our fire department offers free smoke detectors, so there is no excuse not to have one." He added, "Check your detector batteries regularly, as working smoke and CO2 detectors save lives, not dead ones!"