A 31-year-old disabled man is dead after flames tore through a borough home early Saturday afternoon, displacing four others and sending three firefighters to the hospital.
Fire and ambulance crews from various departments responding to 314 E. Main St. shortly before 1 p.m. were met with flames that quickly engulfed the home.
The Lackawanna County Coroner’s Office has identified the man as Jeremy Weitz, who was confined to a hospital bed inside the home
The first firefighters and police to arrive on the scene tried to help the victim’s mother, who also lived in the home, get him out, but they were unable to do so as the flames intensified, Lackawanna County Coroner Timothy Rowland said.
The victim’s mother was not injured, borough Police Chief Chris Tolson said.
Of the three firefighters taken to the hospital, two were from the Dalton Fire Company and suffered smoke inhalation. The third was from the Factoryville Fire Company and suffered unknown injuries, Dalton Assistant Fire Chief Ron Stacknick said.
While the extent of their injuries is unclear, Stacknick said he believed all three were to be released from the hospital Saturday.
Conditions at the burning home devolved quickly and little was left of the structure after the flames were doused. A gas meter “in close proximity” to the flames exploded during the blaze and about two-thirds of the building collapsed roughly 30 minutes after the fire started, Stacknick said.
Dalton firefighters on a ladder truck continued to spray water through what was the roof of the home until around 4 p.m. A largely undisturbed “Lackawanna Trail Lions” flag hung from the home’s charred front porch.
As crews worked through the afternoon, members of the Clarks Summit Fire Company Auxiliary brought them coffee, doughnuts, sandwiches and other food.
“These people leave whatever they’re doing ... and they come out here and give their time and effort and jeopardize their own safety for the community,” auxiliary Vice President Mari Bowen said. “Some people don’t even realize that these are volunteer organizations.”
It’s unclear how many occupants were inside the home when the fire broke out, but the American Red Cross is providing food, clothing assistance and temporary lodging for four people displaced by the blaze.
A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.