ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS John Urban of Ryan Township looks over the burnt remains of the home he shared with his wife Sarah, following a fire that completely destroyed the structure and all of its contents Wednesday morning.
John and Sarah Urban of Barnesville lost all their belongings following a fire that completely razed their rural Ryan Township home located at 687 Brockton Mountain Drive Wednesday morning.
At around 8:20 a.m. Sarah awoke to the smell of smoke, while John, who is currently laid off from work and didn't have home insurance, jumped out of bed and looked in his living room to see his couch "blow-up" in flames.
The fire was so far involved that the couple ran outside barefoot while wearing only their pajamas.
The fire was so hot that it singed John's mustache and hair as he ran out the door.
Despite a quick response from firefighters and other emergency responders, the home was completely destroyed by the fast-moving fire.
Nearby neighbors, including Jenn Evans, Brian Miller, were quick to offer the Urbans clothing and shoes even as they helplessly watched their home go up in flames. Neighbors, family members, and friends spent the rest of the day going through and scavenging the blackened rubble and debris.
Four of the Urban's cats are still unaccounted for.
In addition to their home, the fire also claimed their metal shed and riding mower. Their vehicle also had heat damage.
Firefighters had to keep a constant stream of water onto a heating propane tank located outside the burning home to keep it from exploding.
The family is being helped by the Eastern Northumberland and Schuylkill chapter of the American Red Cross and Tamaqua Salvation Army.
The Tamaqua Volunteers group and Tamaqua Domino's also donated and dropped off pizza and drinks to all the neighbors helping during the cleanup.
Neighbors and family members are accepting all types of needed donations for the fire victims.
Since the family lost everything in the fire, including identification and photo albums, it is in need of essentials, including appliances, furniture, kitchenware, sheets and almost anything that can help their neighbors get back on their feet.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the home of neighbors Frank and Carol Syzdek, who are located next door at 691 Brockton Mountain Drive.
Monetary donations, made-out to John and Sarah Urban, can also be mailed or dropped off at the Syzdek's residence.
The Syzdek's asked donors to call them first at (570) 467-3744 before dropping off any donations at their home, or to contact the Urbans directly to offer assistance as well to fin out the fire victims' clothing sizes.
Firefighters from Hometown, Delano, Brockton, Tuscarora, Mahanoy City, Tamaqua and other companies responded. Tamaqua's Rapid Intervention Team responded and fire police detoured traffic around the area for the duration of the fire.
Ryan Township Fire Chief Joseph "Blackie" Kufrovich was in charge of conducting the investigation into the cause, which is still undetermined.
The Urbans and others noted the possible cause to be an electrical outlet behind the couple's living room couch.
In addition to their family, neighbors and friends, the Urbans were thankful for all of the emergency responders.
Neighbors stated that John and Sarah was lucky to escape serious injury.