Three taken to hospital after Gowen City blaze
GOWEN CITY - A disabled man was taken to a local hospital after breathing in smoke when his home caught fire just after midnight Wednesday.
Firefighters were called to the Candelora residence at 3836 Upper Road in East Cameron Township, west of Gowen City, at 12:03 a.m. for a working structure fire with entrapment; however, all the residents - two adults, John and Debra Candelora, and one child, Jacob Zerbe - were accounted for when firefighters arrived, according to Jim Reed and George Kerstetter, East Cameron Township's fire chief and assistant fire chief, respectively.
A neighbor and a passing motorist, flagged down by the residents, reportedly kept flames at bay with a water hose and two fire extinguishers until help arrived.
"It saved a lot of damage. They started using a garden hose to put the fire out and kept it pretty much in the cellar area. It kept it from spreading a whole lot worse than it would have been," Reed said late Wednesday morning.
Light smoke exited the two-story structure from the basement, eves and bathroom vents. Firefighters removed several items from the basement, including an electric wheelchair.
Emergency medical technicians administered oxygen to John Candelora before all three were transported to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, Coal Township.
Firefighters quickly knocked down the remaining flames. Most units returned to quarters by 1:30 a.m. The remaining units left the scene by 3 a.m.
Reed and Kerstetter said the accidental fire was most likely caused by a faulty battery charger plugged into an electrical outlet because fire damage was heaviest in that area of the basement. Reed said it was being used to charge an ATV.
A state police fire marshal whom Reed spoke to on the telephone concurred with their assessment, he said.
The majority of fire damage was confined to the basement. Some flames crept up a wall and into a first-floor bedroom. There was smoke damage throughout the house.
The Candeloras are insured, Kerstetter said.
A volunteer from the American Red Cross was on scene to assist the family, Reed said.