A West Penn Township family, consisting of two adults and three children, was displaced following a fast-moving fire that tore through their rural home Monday around 4 p.m.
More than 50 firefighters, from both Schuylkill and Carbon counties, responded to a report of a rural house fire with possible entrapment, at 38 Black Bear Lane, located about a quarter-mile up a dirt road off SR309, north of the Leiby's intersection.
Despite a fast response from emergency responders, the two-story home, owned by John and Sara Moravek, was destroyed.
"When I arrived, there were flames shooting out the bottom floor windows and heavy smoke emitting from the upper floors and roof," said West Penn Fire Chief Dennis Fritzinger Jr., who was one of the first on scene.
Firefighters said the fire appeared to start in the basement. They had to break all the windows and cut a hole in the roof to reach hot spots, as well as slow the fire.
Responding were firefighters from Tamaqua, New Ringgold, West Penn, Mahoning Valley and Walker Township. Also responding were West Penn Police and both Penn Mahoning and Tamaqua Ambulance.
West Penn Fire Police closed three lanes of traffic on SR309 at the entrance to Black Bear Lane to allow for safe and quick access for emergency responders. Fritzinger pointed out that the home's rural location at the top of a long dirt road was a concern when responding to the fire.
A member of the Tamaqua Volunteers group donated and distributed cold refreshments to all the responders. The Schuylkill and Eastern Northumberland Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family. The Tamaqua Volunteers group is accepting non-monetary donations (such as small and large appliances, beds, kitchenware) for the fire victims. Call the group at (570) 668-1234 for more information.
The children affected are a 5-year-old boy, and two girls, ages 14 and 16. Monetary donations can be mailed and made out to family member Daniel Smith, 32 Cortright St., Lansford PA 18232. Put "Moravek" in the comment line. Smith's phone number is (570) 657-1056.
The Moravek's are currently staying with a family member in Summit Hill. No serious injuries were reported. A state police fire marshal is expected to be on scene today to investigate the cause of the blaze.