Flames Rip Through Home in Lackawanna County

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CARBONDALE TOWNSHIP -- Firefighters were called to the scene of a fire in Lackawanna County early Monday morning.

A family lost its home here, just outside of Carbondale Monday morning.

It's a case where, officials say, a couple of factors made this fire even worse.

the fire here broke out around 6:30 a.m. Monday along Honesdale Road, in Carbondale Township.

A man who lives across the road said the home owner told him a child in distress signaled something was wrong.

"They heard the baby coughing.  They came out, tried to put it out with water, and then called the fire company," Carl Snyder said.

A couple and their children lived there.  One of those children had to be taken to a hospital for breathing in too much smoke.

The Whites Crossing fire chief believes some of the damage from the fire could have been prevented.  The homeowner says this began as a chimney fire.  He tried getting to the flames himself, before calling the fire company.  The chief says valuable time was lost.

Firefighters also had problems getting water on the burning home.

"Broken hydrants, lines busting all over the place, dry hydrants, just couldn't do it, had to bring in some tankers," said Fire Chief John Piwowarczyk.

Hoses were stretched for blocks to the fire scene but the hoses had little, if any water.

It's not just a house and possessions going up in flames.  Neighbors tell us the family moved in only about a year ago.  They were renovating the house, and all that hard work was lost as well.

The cold was a factor.  Runoff froze.  A tent was set up to provide a warm oasis for firefighters.

No firefighters were hurt.

A state police fire marshal will investigate the cause.


  • Some fly on the wall...false facts!

    Another thing….check with the fire depts and all the neighbors that witnessed the whole thing, you’re so smart, go look at all the holes from all the ammo exploding all over the house. What a coward. Can’t even come forward to the family and shoe yourself. Must be guilt…

  • Some fly on the wall...false facts!

    Really…. Get your accusations backed up with facts first before you go running your mouth. Where is your proof about the housing authority? As far as the family telling the fire company they had no insurance, complete lie! The news also reports the fire broke out at 6:30, not true. The eldest daughter woke her parents up at 6:08 and the 911 call made at 6:10 am. Before anyone knew where the smoke was coming from. She was actually running down the stairs with “her” infant son and her little brother and her little sister while calling 911. This was a scary situation. The parents had the older daughter take the kids out to the truck and move it away from the house. The parents knew the kids were safe then proceeded to try to put out the sparks from between the concrete and the chimney. The sparks got up to the tiny board which holds drop ceiling in place ( which they didn’t use). So it caught between the floor above and the ceiling (which was Sheetrock) below. They continued throwing water at the sparks and getting it to go out until the fire company was there. They left the house letting the firemen know what was going on and told them if they would go in with an extinguisher, they could probably get it out all the way. The family had three extinguishers and only one would work. Another thing, when they arrived at the scene, the fireman said “there’s a fire?” The mom said yes. Check the 911 call. They knew it was a house fire and asked if there was a fire? Really….no one would go into the house at that time… The father told them he was going back in to get his medications on top of the fridge, which was right inside the kitchen and maybe ten feet by the wood stove. Never stopped him from going in because they felt there wasn’t much going on because there wasn’t any smoke in the downstairs. The fireman a response to the father “you shouldn’t go in”…he told them “if someone would just go in to look at it, it would be out”. No one went in except for the dad to retrieve his heart and other needed medications. As far as the wife telling two different firemen about the hunting guns, two handguns and some ammo exactly where they were located, the response to them “that’s ok, no problem”. Two, not one, said the same thing. The wife was watching the whole time until flames started shooting out the windows around 7:00. After their house was completely destroyed, the mom had to call and tell her daughter “it’s gone”….. Why were the victims accused of making the situation worse. Several times in the morning the firemen were asked by the mom “is my house gone?” Their response “no,we got this”. Try explaining to a 7 yr old every night why the firemen didn’t try to save his house. If you, FLY ON THE WALL have any facts to back up your accusations, I’d gladly like to see them. As far as the hydrants being too far and not up to code, they knew this years ago when a neighbor had a fire and they couldn’t help then either. Something has to be done to prevent it from killing someone later.

  • Sheila

    This is a tragedy! Pointing the finger of blame at the victims will do no good. It is important to have accountability on the part of the township. I can relate to this situation as I lived in a rural area for most of my life. The outlying areas are often neglected, and receive inadequate service. No one is denying that it’s been a terrible winter. Still, I suspect that the pipes and hydrants have been deteriorating for some time without any attention from our community leaders. It is far more important to have proper emergency equipment in place than to balm the victims after the fact. I sincerely doubt that they wanted their home to burn to the ground. All of our rural and outlying areas need to command nothing less than equality to avoid these situations in the future.

  • Fly On The Wall

    This is the same family that slandered the carbondale housing authority a few years back. Sounds like karma to me.

      • Fly On The Wall

        I’m an ignorant prick?? Ok. Lets look at some facts. This family has slandered the Carbondale Housing Authority. After the fire, they slandered and blamed the fire company for not doing anything while ammunition was exploding in the house. They should thank God that nobody in their family was hurt, and stop blaming everyone else because they chose to try and put the fire out themselves instead of calling 911 when they woke up to a smoke filled house! Like the chief said… VALUABLE time was lost!

  • cheryl morgan

    As unfortunate as this was thank god no one was seriously injured or killed, we have our chimney cleaned and checked every year to try to prevent this from happening its so important to keep up with these thing our prayers are with the family

  • mom

    My family lost everything. How could such a bad thing happen and then you say it was there fault. I mean no water and broken hydrants. Come on

  • Anonymous

    This fire was in Carbondale Township. The city fire tax has nothing to do with the township, they are two completely separate entities. I do believe the water company owns the hydrants in Carbondale Township therefore they are responsible for notifying the fire department when there is a hydrant out. If you listen and/or watch the clip from the news, the reporter states he was told by the homeowners they do not have insurance (bad move) and that he was told the homeowner tried to put the fire out first with water before calling the fire department/911. The fire companies in the area do the best that they could with what they are given. Maybe you should give the water company a call and complain to them about why there was no water at those particular hydrants. Just sayin’.

    • anonymous

      I know the family!!! They called while they were trying to put the fire out! Stop being so ignorant. The family left the house with the clothes on there backs, thats it. So please stop being ignorant!!!

  • Kathy Mccann

    How could you as a news station blame these homeowners for the loss of their home!!!!….This is absolutely horrible that your news station would do that to someone….please take a min in your news cast and fix that!!!..They did what anyone would do there was no water to the area ….please show respect and redo the news with an apology. ..

  • Kiersten

    Most of that information is on true. While they were waiting for the fire company to get there they put water on it.

  • Janis Wallis

    Please don’t blame the homeowner. Broken hydrants? Broken lines, and no water in tankers??? Apparently Carbondale needs the “fire tax” more than we knew………

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