MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — The blustery arctic air forced everyone to do what they could to stay warm. But for one family in the Poconos, what was supposed to be a routine “warm-up” ended sadly, when a family’s home went up in flames.
Firefighters at the scene say it was a tough job to battle a blaze in below-freezing temperatures at a home near Marshalls Creek.
“Extremely difficult between having to worry about your trucks freezing up. Any water on the ground freezes instantly. It’s a slip hazard. And just the wind and cold,” said Don Slater, a Barrett Township Fire Fighter.
A township vehicle tried helping by spreading anti-skid material on the road. But all the effort couldn’t save a woman’s home in the Wilderness Acres Housing Development.
Neighbors, like Rhonda Footman, saw the activity.
“It was really nerve-wracking because all I saw were the ambulances and first responders flying by my house,” said Footman.
The woman, whose home burned, told Newswatch 16 the fire started minutes after she went outside to warm up her now-charred vehicle before going food shopping.
The woman living did not want to go on camera, but told Newswatch 16 that when she went back outside to her vehicle, she noticed it was on fire.
She tried putting out the fire, but it didn’t work.
So she went back inside, grabbed her two young toddlers and newborn, called 911 and then went to her neighbor’s house to get away from the fire.
The home sustained major damage.
The woman, her fiancé, three children and dog are safe.