Boyfriend of Pottsville fire victim discusses his loss

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — More than a neighborhood is trying to cope after a devastating fire. It broke out Thursday night around midnight in Pottsville, killing a woman and one of her pets.

“Now my whole day, my whole life’s different,” Roger Wehbe said.

Wehbe sits in his shop making jewelry at Martian Materials Meteorite store in Pottsville. It’s something he used to do with his girlfriend, Lorrie Botella.

“I started getting messages saying I’m sorry for your loss. I didn’t even know I had a loss,” Wehbe said.

Hours earlier, she was right by his side making necklaces and bracelets before he drove her home Thursday night.

“I saw her get out of the car. Go. Everything is safe. Now today, she’s not here and it’s not her fault,” Wehbe said.

Her house on Howard Avenue became a raging inferno too dangerous for first responders to enter. She was eventually found unconscious with one of her pet dogs alongside on the second floor of the home. Both ended up dying.

“I was in bed and I heard this popping sound and I saw a glow. I quick ran to make sure I didn’t have to get the kids out. Then when I looked out, the house was fully engulfed in flames,” neighbor Sarah McKeown said.

Wehbe was asleep at his home in Orwigsburg and woke up to the gut-wrenching news on Facebook. He only met Botella in October, but says they were inseparable. He also described her dogs as her whole world. Now he’s trying to imagine his world without her.

“Why’d something bad happen to somebody so good? This girl’s a walking angel. That’s how I viewed her,” Wehbe said.

State police and city investigators are trying to figure out what caused the tragic fire.

Wehbe is asking people to donate money to Hillside SPCA in her name, Lorrie Christina, because she was such an animal lover.

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