Victim of deadly Scranton fire identified

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — According to the Lackawanna County coroner, 48-year-old Paul Sekelsky Jr. died in a fire on Amherst Street in Scranton Thursday.

The call came in just before 3 p.m. Thursday in the 1400 block of Amherst Street. Smoke could be seen for miles as fire crews battled the flames.

Ricardo Montijo works for Dunmore Appliance and was making a delivery across Amherst Street. He took swift action to save a woman and her dog inside this multi-family home.

“I ran around the side of the house towards the back. I went up the stairs and I opened up the resident’s home and she was in the kitchen area,” Montijo explained.

Montijo says the woman did not know flames were intensifying beneath in her daughter and son-in-law’s section of the home.

“A total of three or four minutes. It had to go quick,” he recalled.

Flames were too intense on the first floor to try and rescue 48-year-old Paul Sekelsky Jr. who died in the fire.

Scranton’s fire marshal was back on scene Friday to continue investigating a cause after the home was torn down.

A large pile of rubble was all that remained of a home on Amherst Street after Thursday’s fire.

“First time I saw the house, well the remains of the house, up in person and I just want to see just the overall effect it had on the neighborhood here,” said Shaun Fanning of Scranton.

Fanning says this part of Scranton is tight-knit and everyone knows everyone.

“Certainly sad for not only the family but this whole community, neighborhood. I mean these people knew each other, they interacted on a daily basis. Like, it’s just sad in general for everyone around here,” he added.

Eyewitness News spoke with Sekelsky’s brother, Joe, who said Paul loved to use his boat to go fishing and ride his Harley Davidson.

Joe is thankful for Montijo’s bravery.

The intense fire and smoke Montijo spoke of could be seen for miles in Lackawanna County.

“We got there just in time, you know what I mean? It wasn’t as hot but it was getting there… any longer… because I’ve never seen a house blaze up like that in my life,” Montijo said.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what started the fire.

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