THROOP – A fire in Lackawanna County hit too close to home for the second time in a week. It’s the second fire at a firefighter’s home.
30-year co-workers and companions of Dunmore Firefighter Dominic Rinaldi put an arm around their old friend while watching Rinaldi’s home smolder.
When the fire call comes in and you hear your own address they say it’s heart-stopping and humbling.
“I was putting my boots on and I heard my address come over the radio. We came over the O’Neill Highway I could see the smoke and I knew that it was going pretty good at that point,” Rinaldi said
The fire truck Rinaldi was driving was the first to arrive at his home in Throop. The firefighters saw that flames started in a back garage but the house was already filled with smoke.
“It was tough, he wanted to get here as quick as possible. I was having him keep his composure so we could get here safe and do our jobs,” said Dunmore Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Dee.
Rinaldi was the engineer on the fire at his home, responsible for supplying water to other firefighters.
He said it was surreal to watch his old friends kick in his front door, and smash the windows he installed only a few months ago. Rinaldi’s wife and daughters weren’t home at the time, their two dogs and cat were rescued and unharmed.
Rinaldi said he’s not sure where he and his family will go next, but they’ll be out of the house for a while.
And that’s a scenario that’s become all to familiar for firefighters in Lackawanna County.
On Thursday, Scranton firefighters doused flames at the home belonging to their deputy fire chief, Jeff White. An electrical problem sparked that fire. White and his family are safe but also out of their home until repairs can be made.
“Jeff is a lifelong friend of mine and I know what he’s going through,” added Rinaldi.
As for Rinaldi’s home, firefighters weren’t sure what started the fire in the garage. State Police Fire Marshals are being called in to investigate.