Mahoning teen saves children, dogs, in house fire
Logan Bauer, shown with his father, Jason Bauer, outside Country Inn and Suites in Lehighton. The father and son are currently staying there after a fire destroyed their home at 682 Strauss Valley Drive in Mahoning Township. Visit www.tnonline.com for a video. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
A fire Monday night in Mahoning Township resulted in the loss of a home and severely changed the landscape for the family who lived there.
If that wasn’t tragic enough, a woman who lived in the home suffered burns after she ran back inside the home to try to rescue one of her dogs.
But, through all the wreckage, loss, and turmoil, a true hero emerged in the form of a 15-year-old Carbon Career Technical Institute student.
Township police Chief Audie Mertz said the call came in at 11 p.m. for a report of a dwelling fire at 682 Strauss Valley Drive.
Mertz said a state fire marshal arrived on scene and said the fire will be listed as accidental.
Electricity was out in the home, and the owners had a candle burning, which is what ultimately caused the fire, Mertz said.
Virginia Bauer, 47, suffered burns after she ran back inside the house to try to get one of her dogs, but it was too late.
Bauer was able to make it out of the home, but had to be taken by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital — Cedar Crest.
Her husband, Jason Bauer, said Virginia sustained severe burns to her hands, face, as well as damage to her airway and lungs.
“They have her incubated,” Jason said Friday afternoon. “They said they will keep the tube in for another day or two at least.”
Jason said the dog and six chicks were lost in the fire.
He said Logan managed to save two of their other dogs, while the status of their two cats is unknown.
A hero emerges
Two other children — including a 10-year-old and 2-year-old — were inside the home at the time the fire broke out.
They are the children of Kelly Patterson and his fiancee, Natasha Conklin, of Lehighton.
Patterson said he and Conklin were at an Allentown hospital as Conklin gave birth to a baby girl, Addison.
Patterson said the couples’ best friends — Jason and Virginia Bauer — offered to help watch their school-age children and toddler while the couple was at the hospital.
“The kids were at their house Monday night when the fire happened,” he said. “Their 15-year-old son, Logan Bauer, was a hero.”
Patterson said that Logan recognized there might be a fire, and when he emerged from the game room in his family’s basement, he was met with flames and thick smoke, along with the sound of smoke detectors.
“The kids told me he charged through the smoke and flames to his own bedroom and rescued our 10-year-old and 2-year-old from his bedroom,” Patterson said. “He had the instinct and forethought to wrap our 2-year-old boy in a blanket and cover his face and get him outside to safety, while leading our 10-year-old to the door.”
Patterson said after they were safe in the yard, Logan charged back into the house to free two of his family’s dogs from the pen in their kitchen.
“For a young man as old as 15 to show this kind of bravery and act of heroism, is very rare,” he said. “His parents are incredible people, and raised a very good-natured and good-hearted young man.”
Patterson said he will be forever grateful to Logan for his heroic efforts.
“I could live a thousand lifetimes and still never have the gratitude to show him how courageous and incredible his actions and thinking was,” he said. “I vowed that I will not rest until his story is heard.”
Patterson said he has dedicated the past week to not only enjoying his family, but to helping Logan’s as well.
“He (Logan) may have lost his home, and many belongings,” Patterson said. “But the respect and honor he gained is priceless.”
Patterson said Logan’s act of bravery is something he will never forget.
“It’s an incredible testament to the person that he is and the type of man he is going to be,” he said. “I broke down in tears; that’s something that I would do because they’re my kids.”
As for baby Addison, Patterson said she’s doing fine.
“She’s doing fantastic,” Patterson said. “She’s in perfect health.”
Selfless act of courage
Despite the horrific experience, Jason said he’s thankful that everyone else was able to make it out of the house.
And especially grateful for the young man Logan has become.
“He keeps stressing anybody would have done it,” Jason said. “He told me it was God walking through him because if he didn’t have God, he would have been scared to die.”
Logan attributed that attitude to his time spent at St. Joseph Regional Academy in Jim Thorpe, where he was a student from grades 2-8. The school closed last year.
“It really helped with my education, and characteristics,” Logan said. “It was a really great school.”
Jason said he can’t help but be in awe of his son’s actions, especially the swift action he showed under such duress.
“I’m amazed, honored that he is my son,” he said. “He does great things all the time; he teaches me more than I teach him, I swear.”
As he attempts to piece his family’s life back together, Jason asked for prayers for Virginia.
“She’s a wonderful person with a wonderful heart,” said Jason as he choked back tears. “She literally risked her life trying to save the pets, so I ask for prayers for her.”
Jason thanked all those who have shown their support in this difficult times.
“The kindness of people in this area has been amazing,” he said, citing the Red Cross, First National Pharmacy, as well as a family from St. Joseph Regional Academy who contributed a monetary donation to his family. “The kindness of everyone, the people we have in our lives, shows you that maybe we can see the world isn’t so dark.”