Two families, including a 5-day newborn, are receiving housing and monetary assistance from the Schuylkill and Eastern Northumberland chapter of the American Red Cross following a fire at a three-story duplex in Mahanoy City Tuesday evening.
Just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters were called to 409 and 411 West Market St. for a report of smoke. Mahanoy City Police arrived and noticed heavy smoke billowing from 411 West Market St. and quickly evacuated both families.
When firefighters entered, they extinguished the fire, which appeared to start on the second floor of 411 W. Market St. Both homes received damage. 411 W. Market St., which was occupied by tenants Joseph Vezo, Jennifer Taylor and their five children, to include a newborn infant, suffered fire, smoke, water and heat damage, while 409 W. Market St., lived in by tenant Eva Negron, was lucky enough to only receive smoke and water damage.
Vezo was alerted to the fire from their smoke detector. Gayle Weikel, sister in law of Negron, pointed out their appreciation to the firefighters; pointing out that firefighters went out of their way to prevent damage to their belongings. Weikel said, "One of the firefighters took his time to move furniture, appliances and even picture frames to avoid them getting damage."
She added that the firefighters are truely heroes. Ed Green of Wilkes Barre is the owner of both properties. Responding were fire companies from Citizens, West End, Humane, Washington Hook and Ladder, Good American, Frackville and others. Shenandoah ambulance and Altamont's Rapid Intervention Team also responded. A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is expected to be on scene today to determine the exact cause of the fire. Mahanoy City fire police directed traffic around the scene during the response. No injuries were reported. Randy Kalce, Mahanoy City fire chief, gave credit to all responding emergency services for knocking down the fire before it could spread to other nearby homes.