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Schuylkill County Man Killed In Fire Was Air Force Veteran, Loved Music

Authorities say 65-year-old Richard Dermo was killed in a fire at his home in Cass Township on Sunday morning. People who knew Dermo say he was a veteran of the Air Force and he loved music.
Cass Township, Schuylkill County - Friends of 65-year-old Richard Dermo loved music, especially the Beatles and the Doors. They also say he spent some time in the Air Force.

Authorities say Dermo was killed when a fire ripped through his Cass Township home on Sunday morning.

Kathy Wagner, who lives just a few doors down from Dermo, said her heart almost broke when she found her friend died.

Wagner went to high school with Dermo, but was a year apart from him. She told Eyewitness News that his house on South Maple Avenue was also his childhood home.

Wagner said her friend was a good man.

"(He was) fantastic, easy going, jolly, and a comedian," Wagner said. "I mean he was a lot of fun. He was such a great guy."

Investigators said the blaze happened around 2:30 on Sunday morning.

Flames were shooting out of a window when firefighters got to the home.

Pete Ricigliano, Cass Township fire chief, said the fire was so intense that firefighters couldn't get into Dermo's home.

The man who lives on the other side of the double block house was able to make it out okay, thanks to working smoke detectors.

Authorities say there were no smoke detectors in Dermo's home.

"At this time it's accidental and it's being investigated by the State Police fire marshal," Ricigliano said.

Cathy Hockenberry, who lives in Minersville, said she knew Dermo when he was younger. She said the two kept in contact through Facebook and she remembers the times the two talked about their love for music.

"He talked a lot about the Doors," she said.

Wagner said Dermo's death is hitting everyone hard.

"It's a big tragedy," she remarked. "I can't believe he's gone."

An autopsy showed that Dermo suffered extensive burns.

Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David Moylan said they're considering his death an accident.
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