LANSFORD, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A horrific fire kills one man and badly burns a mother and her children.
The tragedy happened in Lansford Monday. Before firefighters arrived, neighbors rushed to try and help the family escape the flames.
Around 4:45 Monday afternoon, Lansford Police responded to a reported house fire at the 300 block of West Bertsch Street with children trapped inside.
“It was a sheer panic because you have kids dangling out of the windows, screaming for help. It was an absolutely horrific scene,” Lansford Police Chief Jack Soberick said.
Soberick says when he arrived, the neighbors were doing anything they could to rescue the family. He says the second and third floors of the home were fully engulfed. Firefighters were on the way.
“They were throwing ladders; they were trying to make entry through the front window, they went on to the roof, they kicked through the back door,” Soberick said.
One of them was Paul Walck. He says he and Chief Soberick tried to go in.
“By the time we got to the door it was too bad. We couldn’t even crawl or nothing,” Walck said.
“The smoke was to the floor. We tried to make entry. It was to the deck on the first floor. We couldn’t get in,” Soberick said.
The mother jumped from the window holding her infant. One child jumped from the second floor window and another child was rescued.
They were all taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The father did not make it out of the home.
“He was last seen trying to make entry into the home to rescue the kids,” Soberick said.
“It must have been the father that kicked out the window and helped the kid out,” Walck said.
Lansford Fire Chief Joe Greco says wind caused the fire to rapidly spread to the neighboring building. The cause is under investigation.
Soberick said the neighbors were heroic and thanked them for trying to help.
“I wish I could have helped somebody out…I tried….,” Walck said.
Walck says he has been friends with the family for years. The mother and children were treated for burns and other injuries. No word on their condition at this time.
The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshals Office is investigating the cause of the fire.