Quick response extinguishes Tamaqua N. Lehigh St. fire
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Russell Wagoner walks his dog away from his home at 203 1/2 North Lehigh Street in Tamaqua Monday evening as firefighters check to make sure there are no more flames and smoke in the residence.
The quick action of a resident and neighbor and the rapid response of firefighters combined to extinguish a fire on North Lehigh Street in Tamaqua Monday evening.
The Tamaqua's four fire companies responded to an alarm around 6 p.m. for a structure fire at 203 1/2 North Lehigh Street.
According to Fire Chief Tom Schlorf, the blaze originated in the kitchen, on the stove, where a burner was left on when cooking oil had been used.
The house is the residence of Lori Wagoner and her son, Russell, 21, as well as Dorothy Vasquez, 21, and Riley Wagoner, four months. Everyone got out of the home safely.
Once he saw the fire, Russell Wagoner did his part to put it out.
"It's my home, and seeing the stove fire, I got my baby and girlfriend out," said Russell, who also got his dog, Elenor, a husky lab mix, outside as well. "When I looked inside the window, I saw the flames up to the ceiling."
Dan Whitenight, who lives next door at 205 North Lehigh, also saw the flames and ran to his garage and handed a fire extinguisher to Russell.
"I got an extinguisher from my neighbor and started firing it down," he said. "The firefighters got here about two minutes later."
"We got here fast, and it was out very quickly," said Schlorf.
The house, which is owned by Brett Zehner, sustained moderate smoke and fire damage to the kitchen and minor smoke damage to the upstairs, but no water damage, according to Schlorf. Zehner has fire insurance, he added.
There was also some minor smoke damage to the adjacent home at 203 N. Lehigh Street, owned by Katherine Serrano, noted Schlorf.
No one was injured during the fire. Riley Wagoner was treated for smoke inhalation and released.
Assisting the fire department at the scene were borough police and Tamaqua Community Ambulance. Fire Police directed traffic at the intersection at Lehigh and W. Broad Street, at the bottom of Stadium Hill.
Schlorf recommended the family to not stay in the residence overnight. The family is currently staying at the Owl Creek home of Sandra Moerder, who is Lori Wagoner's mother. Whitenight and other neighbors have donated baby formula, bottles and supplies.
Moerder is taking monetary and other donations for the family, which lost clothing due to the smoke damage, as well as kitchen appliances and furniture. Donations can be dropped off at 195 Owl Creek Road (call 570-668-0549) and Padora's Six Pack House, 209 North Railroad Street. The Salvation Army is assisting the family with clothing,
(Correspondent Andrew Leibenguth also contributed to this story)