UPDATE: Cats found OK; fire marshal to inspect Coal Township fire scene on Friday
BOYDTOWN — Firefighters were on the scene for nearly eight hours battling a blaze that damaged two homes along North Berry Street in this section of Coal Township.
The fire at 49 and 53 N. Berry St. was reported about 10 p.m. Wednesday and the scene wasn’t cleared until 5:57 a.m. this morning. The fire had been brought under control at about midnight.
No one was injured.
Some good news was reported overnight: three cats belonging to Antoinette Scicchitano, owner of 49 N. Berry, were discovered alive. Her dog, however, remained unaccounted for at last check. Wednesday night, Scicchitano was unaware of the fate of all four pets.
A state police fire marshal is due at the scene Friday morning.
The fire, ironically, occurred on Fire Prevention Day, part of the national Fire Prevention Week.
Flames were still visible at 11:20 p.m. in the rear of the third-floor roof at 49 N. Berry St. Multiple master streams and a snorkel engine pulling water from the main line led to the call for tanker trucks to backup the water supply.
Engines from Brady and East End fire companies were parked out front. The snorkel engine from Independence Fire Company was stationed a short distance away on Hess Street, unable to get closer because of the terrain.
It is believed the house at 49 N. Berry St. was fully involved when firefighters arrived. Flames spread throughout all three floors of the home and eventually to the third-floor roof of neighboring 53 N. Berry St.
The homes are located near Rock Cut Road between Tioga Street and Pulaski Avenue. Berry and Hess streets are each narrow roadways.
Robert Wheary, 73, was inside his home at 53 N. Berry St. when he heard noises from the front porch area. When he looked outside he said he saw smoke coming from the eaves of a roof. He tried calling the sister of Scicchitano before dialing 9-1-1.
“What are you gonna do?” he said, reacting to comments made about his good spirits despite watching fire destroy his neighbor’s home and spread to his own. “Forty-six years up in flames.”
Wheary’s home is insured, he said. So is Scicchitano’s. She looked on from across the street as firefighters worked to knock down the flames spread throughout her home.
Scicchitano wasn’t home when the fire ignited. She was at her daughter Tiffany’s home when she got a phone call that her home was in flames.
“Everything I own is in there,” she said.
Responding were firefighters from Coal Township, Shamokin, Atlas, Mount Carmel, Kulpmont, Overlook, Elysburg, Easter Cameron Township and Trevorton. The Sunbury EMS Rehab unit also responded.