AP NEWS

One Killed, Others Hurt In Freeland Fire

February 25, 2019
One Killed, Others Hurt In Freeland Fire

FREELAND — One man died when fire tore through a double home at Ridge and Chestnut streets in the borough Sunday morning. Firefighters from at least nine local departments responded to a blaze that broke out at around 7 a.m. Sunday at 838-840 Ridge St. in Freeland. A male living at the 840 side of the building died and three other people in that half of the building were treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton for breathing issues that were not life-threatening, Freeland Fire Chief Joe Stepansky said. The names of the victims were not available Sunday. Five other people living on the 838 side escaped without injury, he said. Three firefighters were also injured while battling the blaze. One of the firefighters suffered broken ribs and another was evaluated on scene. A third firefighter, from Valley Regional Fire & Rescue, was injured after he slipped on ice, the chief said. Firefighters encountered heavy flames at the back of the building when arriving on scene at around 7 a.m., the chief said. The 840 side of the building was a “total loss,” Stepansky said. The back corner of the home near Chestnut Street was severely damaged and window frames were charred. The 838 side sustained smoke, water and fire damage, as well. A state police fire marshal was at the home investigating and a coroner was also called the scene. Officials are investigating the cause, the chief said. American Red Cross is working with families affected by the blaze. “The families, victims and firefighters are in our prayers,” Stepansky said. At around 10:30 a.m., firefighters were dousing hot spots in the upper floors. Firefighters encountered icy conditions while fighting the blaze, the chief said. Crews worked to prevent flames from damaging a neighboring home at 836 Ridge St., the chief said. Firefighters from several companies, including Freeland, West Hazleton, Beaver Meadows, Weatherly, McAdoo, White Haven, Valley Regional and Lehigh & Lausanne responded. Freeland Ambulance and Valley Regional Ambulance also responded. Borough police were on scene as well. Contact the writer: sgalski@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3586