POTTSVILLE — As so many in Schuylkill County were asleep, huge flames lit up part of Pierce Street in Pottsville .and soon after Samantha Fanelli says somebody started yelling “‘Help, help, help!'”
Neighbors say that person pleading for help was Kelly Brown, the mother and wife of the fire victims who was just across the street doing laundry at a friend’s house. Trapped inside the burning home were Kelly’s husband of eight years Eric, their four young children and Kelly’s sister who often babysat the kids
“It was engulfed. You weren’t getting in. Nobody was getting anybody in there to get anybody out.”
Jeff Kuhlwind lives across the street and called 911.
“It’s a terrible thing, especially on Mother’s Day. And now she’s going to have that to think about when she lost her family,” Kuhlwind said.
Other neighbors including Jason Rose tried to help Pottsville Police and firefighters save the family inside. Many could hear the father yelling, hoping someone could save his kids.
“I heard Eric for a couple of seconds and then it just stopped,” said Rose.
The cries for help were soon drowned out by the intensity of the blaze. Soon, hope to save the victims turned into heartbreak. Now the hollowed-out shell of a home has become the Mother’s Day memory for one woman who’s family is now gone and a reminder to neighbors of so many lives taken too soon.
“The little kids play out here. They play out here with our son. It’s almost haunting,” Rose said.
For complete Newswatch 16 coverage of this story, click here.