Investigating The Cause Of Schuylkill County House Fire

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NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP -- Fire ruined a home early Thursday morning in Schuylkill County.

It started in the home on Catawissa Creek Road, in North Union Township, near Zion Grove around 6 a.m.

In addition to the intense flames, firefighters had to deal with heavy rain and lightning.

A picture shows what firefighters saw when they rolled up to this home near Zion Grove: a wall of flames. First responders had to fight the fire and also faced another danger from nature.schuyl fire 9-12

"We had a thunderstorm come through shortly after we arrived, a lot of lightning, heavy rain," said Nuremburg-Weston Fire Company Chief Joe Lescowitch.

Fire officials say the Halushack family was on vacation while their home burned.

Neighbor Bob Dinofa cleaned the ashes of the fire from his car.

"Horrible, horrible fire, a beautiful home, Jim and Betty are very good friends of mine and it was terrible to see their home burn like that," Dinofa said.

Fire officials say nobody was hurt but two cats were lost to the blaze.

"It was the upper half that was on fire, and I opened the bottom door to let the cats out but they apparently got inhalation of smoke," Dinofa added.

Other neighbors described the fire victims as good people.

"Very hard working, very nice, very friendly. They offered to help us when we moved in," said Stvta Negrea.

The fire chief believes the fire started in the garage.  A state police fire marshal is investigating the exact cause.