Firefighters from Coaldale and surrounding communities were called to a house fire at 21 West Howard Ave. just after 10 a.m. Thursday after homeowners saw and smelled smoke coming from an upstairs bedroom.

Responding within a few minutes of the call, firefighters sprayed water into one of the bedrooms of the home. Heavy smoke could be seen pouring out one of the windows as firefighters broke windows to control the fire.

The three story home, which suffered major damage in one bedroom and minor water, smoke and heat damage in other parts, was lived in by Henry Beers, his girlfriend MaryAnn, and their four children, ages 5, 7, 10 and 12. Beers stated, "My heart goes out to all who responded".

Members of the Coaldale VFW Post 6892 are taking donations for the fire victims. They said that monetary donations for the family can be mailed to their post or in the mail slot. Their address is 1 East Ridge St., Coaldale PA 18218.

Other items, such as mattresses, box springs and dressers are also being accepted. They ask that you call the post first at (570) 645-9339 before offering any furniture. The VFW is also having an open house this Saturday at the post starting at 9 p.m. Donations can also be dropped off then. Beers, a disabled veteran, who is forced to sleep on a couch, stated his appreciation to the post, stating, "I'm extremely grateful for the post's kindness."

Members of the Tamaqua Salvation Army and Schuylkill and Eastern Northumberland Red Cross also offered assistance.

Firefighters stated that a mattress also caught fire. The fire was ruled as accidental by Rich Marek, Coaldale Fire Chief.

Responding were firefighters from Coaldale, Lansford, Tamaqua and surrounding departments. Also responding were Coaldale police, Tamaqua and Lansford ambulances and Tamaqua Rescue Squad.

Beers exclaimed, "The firefighters saved our home! They are all heroes!"