Disaster quickly averted by firefighters
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Early this morning, firefighters from Lansford and surrounding communities quickly responded to a fire call at 319 East Bertsch Street in Lansford. No one was hurt.
About 2:20 a.m. this morning, emergency crews were called to 319 East Bertsch St. in Lansford for a call of a house fire.
Visible smoke and a strong smell was coming from the home when the emergency crews arrived. Some volunteers and neighbors stated it smelled like burnt marshmallows.
The family living at the home consisted of Robert and Theresa Perez and their three children; Aliyah, Milena, and Jaylynn.
Around 2 a.m., Robert Perez smelled the burning and searched around his home for the strange odor. He tracked it down to their second floor bathroom ceiling. The ceiling was hot when he felt it and smoke was also emanating from parts of the ceiling.
He quickly got his family out of the home and called 911.
After the firefighters arrived, they quickly used a TIC, thermal imaging camera, to track down the hot spots, mainly coming from existing light-fixture wiring and wood beam on the second floor bathroom ceiling. Firefighters quickly hooked up their water hoses and used conservative amounts of water on the hotspots to limit water damage before the small fire could escalate further.
A smoldering burnt wood beam was brought outside for further inspection. A number of garbage cans full of insulation were also removed and brought outside by the firefighters.
A witness outside made a comment, stating that he thought all new insulation was supposed to be fire retardant, as he lit a small amount of insulation on fire with a match with no problem.
Theresa Perez said that the Carbon Action Committee was at their home earlier yesterday, Thursday, putting insulation in the home and doing other tasks. The Perez family said the Lansford fire chief, Joe Cannon, told them the insulation fire probably started from an existing light fixture that probably over-heated after being surrounded by the insulation.
The power at the home is turned off until an electrical inspector inspects the home later today. Since the strong smell of smoke still exists in the air and a few members of the family have asthma, the fire chief recommended they not stay there until the inspector inspects the home and allows the power back on later today.
The family said they will be staying at their mother's home in Whitehall. Two of the family's pets were also pulled to safety.
Some of the emergency crews that were called were Lansford Fire Department, Coaldale Fire Department, Tamaqua Fire Department, Lehighton Ambulance, and Lansford Fire Police. No one appeared injured and the family hopes to be back in their home later today. A witnesses stated, "All these firefighters (Lansford and surrounding communities) arrived superfast." The Perez family stated their great appreciation for the very quick response of all the firefighters and other emergency responders that saved their home.