A woman was badly burned and many of her pets are dead following a fast-moving fire that destroyed a two-story home in Mahanoy Township around 7:45 a.m. Saturday.
Firefighters were called to 14 Suffolk Road (Route 54), about one mile west of Mahanoy City, for a house fire with possible entrapment. When firefighters arrived, they could see flames shooting out the back of the home.
The homeowner, Bertha Wargo, was treated at the scene for burns to her hands and face and taken to St. Catherine's Hospital, Fountain Springs, by Frackville EMS, then flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest for additional treatment of her burns.
According to officials at the scene, the home was originally built as two attached wood frame buildings, but was converted into a single unit over the last couple years. The building suffered extensive damage and a partial collapse of the second floor.
Officials stated the fire was knocked down in 30 minutes and was declared under control shortly after. Crews remained on scene for about an hour to insure the fire was out.
Several of the homeowner's cats were rescued from the home, but some also perished.
It appears the fire started in the rear of the home, and was determined to be accidental, but officials did not provide any information as to its origin.
Officials commended the quick response of the Schuylkill and Eastern Northumberland American Red Cross, which provided hot chocolate to firefighters, as well as the Schuylkill County Animal Rescue Team, which cared for the cats and birds that survived the fire.
Due to its location, all Mahanoy City fire companies responded, as well as additional companies, tanker trucks and fire police from northern Schuylkill County.
EMS units from Mahanoy City and surrounding areas along with Mahanoy City, Hometown and Shenandoah fire police were on scene to assist with detours and closing part of SR54 for the duration.
There were no other injuries were reported.