A Brockton woman is staying with family and her home is severely damaged after a suspected kitchen fire broke out in her 209 Valley St. home, just after 3:30 p.m. yesterday in Schuylkill Township.
"Firefighters did an excellent job stopping the fire," said neighbor Johnny Ziolko of 207 Valley St., who said he saw flames shooting out the rear kitchen window of the home. "If they didn't get here as fast as they did, the whole block could have been destroyed."
"The fire started in the back of the house," said Tuscarora Fire Company Chief Tom Slane Jr, who added that the fire is still under investigation. "There was a good stop by all responding fire companies."
Mildred "Milly" H. Karmosky, who is the widow of Thomas Karmosky, who passed away in 2005, was seen sitting across the street from her home as Tamaqua paramedics treated her for smoke inhalation. Officials said she was shaken but not harmed.
Her home, which suffered heavy fire damage to the rear of both floors, is part of a two-home duplex. Residents said the other half, 211 Valley St., also owned by Karmosky, was vacant.
Both homes suffered heavy smoke and water damage.
"I heard the fire whistle, looked outside and then ran to the back of the smoke-filled house and saw the entire kitchen engulfed in flames," said neighbor Lester Andescavage of 206 Valley St.
Matt Barnisky of 205 Valley St. was one of the first neighbors to notice the fire and said his cousin's girlfriend called 911 right away.
"The whole downstairs was filled with smoke," said Barnisky. "I couldn't see a foot in front of my face."
Barnisky said the fire appeared to start in the kitchen and that he thinks the fire started while Karmosky was cooking onions and butter on the stove when she went outside briefly to sweep the porch.
Karmosky is staying with her son.
The surrounding neighbors expressed their appreciation to the responding fire companies for preventing the fire from spreading to nearby homes.
Responding were Tuscarora Fire Company, Tamaqua ladder truck, Tamaqua's Citizen's Fire Company, Tamaqua's East End Fire Company, Coaldale Fire Company, Mary D Fire Company, New England/Walker Township Fire Company, Tamaqua Rescue Squad/RIT, Brockton Fire Company, Tamaqua Ambulance and others. Tuscarora Fire Police closed Valley Street for the duration of the response.
No serious injuries were reported.