Casey the hero
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Presenting the Youth Hero Award to Casey Leone, second from right are, from left, Tamaqua Police Officer Michael Hobbs, Tamaqua Mayor Christian Morrison, Eastern Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Vice Chairman Pat Clemens, and Tamaqua Assistant Fire Chief and Citizens Fire Company Chief Tom Hartz Jr. Members of the Citizen's Fire Company were also on hand during the presentation.
The Weatherly and Tamaqua American Legion Auxiliary presented the National Auxiliary President Youth Hero Award to Casey Leone, 12, son of Tolan Kunkle and Tomica Leone of Tamaqua, for his heroic actions during a fire that occurred on June 11 of last year at a double-home located at 312 and 314 North Railroad St. in Tamaqua.
After investigating a strange noise and spotting a large fire growing in the bathroom, Casey quickly ran back and forth between his home and his neighbor's knocking on doors and letting everyone know.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to alert his neighbors by banging hard on their front door, Casey, aged 11 and weighing only 60 pounds at the time, miraculously broke down his neighbor's door by forcing his way through the wooden front door to let them know of the danger.
Casey then continued to check each room to make sure everyone was out before the smoke and fire could reach them.
Even though no one was seriously hurt in the blaze, both homes were destroyed. Twenty-one people were affected by the fire; 16 were children.
"Without the quick and heroic actions of Casey, who knows what could have happened," said Pat Clemens, Eastern Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation vice chairman.
"We are very, very proud of Casey and his bravery that day," said Casey's parents. "Nobody told him to do it. He just knew what to do and did it."