Community begins to help after two fires break out in Tamaqua

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TAMAQUA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fire crews in Tamaqua were busy battling two fires and brutal heat Wednesday afternoon.

We have exclusive video of the moment they rescued a baby from one of those fires. A firefighter cradled a four-month-old baby as smoke billowed from the windows of an apartment building in Tamaqua

“The fire escape was unattainable to try to escape that way so three people made their way to the front porch roof. The other two people to the fire escape was a mother and a daughter and they had to be helped to the front by a firefighter,” Tamaqua Fire Department Chief James Connely said.

Connely says they were able to get everyone out and the baby is recovering at a nearby hospital.
Firefighters were dispatched to the building on West Broad Street shortly after 1 p.m., just as they were already working to tame another fire at a garage just a few blocks away on Rolling Mills Avenue.

“Simultaneous. This is the first time that I know of,” Connley said

Both fires are under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal. The causes are still unknown. The building has five apartment units and the fire chief says about 20 people are now displaced.

Just hours after the fires, neighbors and community members are already pitching in to help. After seeing the destruction, Justin David Startzel started collecting donations. He will meet with other community members to form a relief committee on Thursday.

“So we can collectively get together, have all the donations, and make sure they get to the right people,” Startzel said.

Startzel says he will post updates on his Facebook page with more information about how others can help out.

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