Firefighter, police officer and family speak on rescuing two children in a Kingston house fire

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KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A dramatic rescue in Kingston after fire ravages a family’s home.

Two children made it out alive thanks to the quick action of a pair of borough officers.

“I was doing my job as a police officer and servant,” Kingston Police Department patrolman Matthew Bonawits said.

Saturday afternoon, Peter Cwalina heard something that sounded like popping coming from his back porch. When he went out to check it, he saw the porch on in flames. As Cwalina tried to fight the fire himself, officer Matthew Bonawits arrived on scene.

“Some bystanders yelling there were children inside. At that point, made entry through the front door and was able to locate one child on the first floor of the residence,” Bonawits said.

Bonawits first rescued 1-year-old Kayden. Cwalina’s 3-year-old son, Joseph, was still on the second floor. Assistant Fire Chief Floyd Young didn’t know a child was still stuck inside when he got the call. When Young learned where Joseph was located, he immediately got to work.

“Myself and Officer Bonawits took a ladder, laddered the bedroom window, took an ax, smashed out the bedroom window. I hopped in, found the child laying in bed, crying,” Young said.

Young says the fact that the door to Joseph’s bedroom was closed saved his life.

“If you could have seen the hallway, the hallway was scorched black. The hallway had high heat. The hallway had fire, but this little guy’s bedroom was what we called tenable, a survivable situation, because his bedroom his door was closed,” Young said.

Young handed Joseph to Officer Bonawits who took him to his distraught family below.

“It was a good feeling to get the, not have to worry about the child at that point,” Bonawits said.

Cwalina is grateful for the officers’ quick thinking, and Young’s quick action.

“He didn’t have anything on. And he just went out there and smashed the window and grabbed my kid. And for him to do that without anything on knowing there’s smoke up there, there might be flames, was amazing,” Cwalina said.

A GoFundMe was started online for the Cwalina family. Within 24 hours it already raised thousands of dollars.

“I’m almost gonna cry. It’s amazing to see all the people…There’s some people on there that I don’t even know who they are. And just $10 or whatever…It’s a beautiful thing to see people coming around us and trying to help us as much as they possibly can,” Cwalina said.

As mentioned, a GoFundMe has been set up for the family. Click here if you wish to donate.

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