Flames cause heavy damage to home in Mahoning Twp.
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Flames erupt through the roof of the home of Richard and Connie Kistler in the Mahoning Heights section of Mahoning Township this morning. See additional photos on Page 2.
Eight fire companies rushed to the home of Richard and Connie Kistler, 52 Todd Lane in Mahoning Township around 8:30 a.m. this morning after an oxygen tank reportedly exploded.
The home is located in the Mahoning Heights section of the township.
While Mahoning Valley fire chief Mark Ebbert said the fire is still under investigation, Richard Kistler said the fire was the result of his oxygen tank exploding and cited the power switch on top of the tank as the cause.
From the explosion, Richard suffered a burn on his left hand and was treated by Lehighton paramedics and then transported to a hospital.
Only Richard and Connie were in the house at the time. The couple remained on the scene and was comforted by friends and neighbors.
Ebbert said the fire appears to have started in the basement. The fire traveled upward. Around 9 a.m. flames were clearly visible, shooting out of the roof near the rear of the home on the right hand side.
Firefighters began breaking windows with pick axes in order to battle the interior flames from the outside. Within five minutes, firefighters had the flames greatly reduced and the fire appeared to be under control by 9:25 a.m.
In addition to visible damage where the fire had broken through the roof, Ebbert said the interior of the house suffered flame, smoke and water damage.
Lehighton Fire Company was first on the scene and was joined by fire crews from Mahoning Valley, Franklin, Bowmanstown, East Penn, Parryville, Jim Thorpe, and Summit Hill. Everett estimated there were 25 to 30 responders on the scene.
There were no fire hydrants located near the home and water had to be supplied by the firefighter's portable tankers.
A Lehighton firefighter suffered a minor injury to his wrist at the scene and was treated by paramedics from two Lehighton ambulances. A Mahoning Valley police officer was also present at the house fire.