Home gutted, pets perish
COAL TOWNSHIP - Several animals perished and a home was gutted in the area's second fire call Monday, this time at the intersection of Wabash and Sherman streets.
Coal Township firefighters were at the scene of a motor vehicle accident along Route 901 when a call came in at 7:25 p.m. for a structure fire at 1479 Wabash St.
The home was in the process of being renovated and tenants Mike Borich and Lizzette Velezquez had just moved in last weekend.
"My boss had taken us out for wings tonight and when we got home, we just saw the flames," a stunned Borich said while watching crews search for hot spots in his new home. "I just went into the basement and got my dog out before it got too bad."
While Borich managed to save one dog, a pit bull terrier, another pit bull, along with a cat and some snakes, could not be saved, according to Coal Township Fire Chief Russ Feese.
"When we arrived on scene, the first floor was fully involved," Feese said. "We worked quickly to knock it down using master streams from the outside, before being able to get in and put it out and check for hot spots."
The home is owned by Bart and Danielle Koser, of Coal Township, who were renting to the couple.
Bart Koser said the house was under renovations for the past month and believed some of the projects may have accelerated the blaze when it started.
"They've done some work lately on the hardwood floors inside, getting them sanded down and putting a fresh coat of urethane on them," he said.
Feese said the fire is under investigation and could not give a cause for it Monday evening. Firefighters had it under control by 8 p.m.
The Kosers are insured for the loss of the structure, but it is not known if Borich and Velezquez are for their belongings.
"The important thing is that you guys are okay," Koser told Borich. "All that stuff is replaceable."
Feese was grateful for the efforts of responding firefighters, even after a long day fighting another blaze that destroyed four homes and damaged four others in Kulpmont (See separate story).
"All the crews that I can see around here spent many hours today up in Kulpmont since early this morning," the chief said. "They may have gotten only a couple hours rest before they were at it again. That's the dedication to the service they have as volunteers."