Crews Battle Blaze in Below Zero Temperatures

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SHENANDOAH -- Firefighters in Schuylkill County dealt with brutal temperatures, while fighting flames Tuesday morning.

Smoke poured out of the front of the double-block home in the 200 block of South Ferguson Street in Shenandoah around 7:30 a.m.

The frigid air in Shenandoah soon took on much more than just teeth chattering temperatures Tuesday morning. Much of this neighborhood along the 200 block of South Ferguson Street glowed with flames.

“About 7:30 this morning I smelled smoke.  I came out the backdoor and I saw the flames,” said neighbor Tom Chernewski.

Firefighters rolled into the Shenandoah neighborhood by the dozens. More than five fire departments responded. Emergency workers looked more like walking icicles in the below-zero conditions.

“I saw one guy walk out his face was half frozen with ice on his beard . I feel bad for them,” said neighbor Juan Sanchez.

Crews tell us in order to do their job, they had to take ample amounts of breaks, hopping in and out of warm fire trucks.  A shelter was set up for volunteers to get warm food and drinks.

“It’s a big thanks to those guys for doing that.  I really appreciate it for trying to save people’s lives,” Sanchez said.

“This is the coldest fire that I’ve ever been at,” said Shenandoah Fire Chief Cory Rainis. “It’s frigid.”

Firefighters tell us one side of the double-block home was vacant. Neighbors say Mike Cooney lived on the other side.

“It’s a longtime friend who lived there, glad to see he got out, that he wasn’t home at the time,” said neighbor Mark Danouski.

And as firefighters search for the cause of the blaze, neighbors try to figure how they’ll keep warm since the whole ordeal knocked out their power.

A state police fire marshal will investigate the cause.


  • karla sanchez

    Hello I’m the neighbor across the street from the house on fire on s ferguson st in shenandoah it was around 7 in the morning when I got home from picking up my car and while I was getting into my house I heard something like an explosion near me but I didn’t bother to go back cuz I was too scare but I’m just letting u know so you can have at least a clue of what could of happen …. hopefully this information could help u find out the cause … .. thank you

    • John

      You should contact the local or state police. I’m sure they would like to hear about with you may of heard or saw…… Have A Great Day.

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