Woman killed in fire that injured 2 in Lykens
LYKENS - A 55-year-old borough woman was killed and two other people were burned when flames tore through several row homes on Main Street in this Dauphin County community Sunday night.
Patricia Scott, 643 Main St., was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:59 p.m. An autopsy Monday determined the woman died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns caused by the fire. The manner of death was ruled accidental, according to the Dauphin County Coroner's Office.
Lykens fire Chief Terry Sherman said crews were called to the 600 block of Main Street about 10:15 p.m. and found heavy fire.
Sherman, who lives several houses away, said he saw flames blowing out of the front of the buildings when he walked out of his front door shortly after being dispatched.
"It was very intense," Sherman said while standing in front of the burned out homes Monday morning with assistant fire Chief John Shultz.
The fast moving fire destroyed homes at 641, 643 and 645 Main St. and also damaged two unoccupied homes at 647 and 649 Main St.
The chief said that in addition to Scott, Carrie Ann Husic and her son, Thomas A. Snyder, 12, lived in the 643 Main St. home.
Husic and Snyder were able to escape the home through a rear second-floor window. Each suffered burns and were taken to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Sherman said the two were then transferred to the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown. A spokesman at Lehigh Valley said both were admitted in critical condition.
Christopher and Teresa Schoffstall lived at 645 Main St. Two apartments at 641 Main St. were occupied - the first floor by Sara Miller and the second floor by Cindy Brzged.
The Schoffstalls, Miller and Brzged were able to escape their homes without injuries before the buildings were consumed by fire.
The fire was so intense, roofs of three of the buildings crashed onto the sidewalk even before firefighters arrived, Sherman said.
"The flames and debris were blowing across the street," he said. "The intensity of the fire was unbelievable."
The chief also said there were several oxygen cylinders inside the 643 Main St. home and venting tanks added to the fire.
Although the tanks did not explode, Sherman said the oxygen being vented by pressure relief valves activated by the heat intensified the flames, making it more difficult for firefighters.
He said the fire started in the 643 Main St. home, but the exact cause has not yet been determined.
Sherman said he is being assisted with the investigation by state police fire marshal Trooper Terry Carberry from the Lykens station along with county fire investigator representatives from the coroner's office.
There were no firefighter injuries reported and Sherman said volunteers from Lykens, Williamstown, Gratz, Wiconisco, Elizabethville and Muir responded to the scene, along with Medic 6 based in Lykens.
Firefighters from Millersburg were on standby in Lykens in the event of another fire while crews were battling the Main Street blaze.