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Neighbor Hailed as Hero After Arson

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CARBONDALE -- A man from Carbondale is being hailed as a hero after rescuing his neighbor from the roof of her burning home. He did that right before driving his wife to the hospital to deliver their son.

The arrival of that baby is a happy ending to what has been a harrowing few days for neighbors in Carbondale. The fire that was ruled arson damaged two homes. Police believe it may be connected to another arson in the same neighborhood last month.

The victims of this most recent fire want to know why they were targeted.

Richard Michalek met with insurance adjusters outside his fire damaged home in Carbondale on Monday. But, he seemed more nervous about a meeting he's yet to have with the man who saved his wife from the burning second floor Friday morning.

"I'm just grateful that he was awake at the time that it happened. So, I can't really say much to him. I just don't know how to say," Michalek said.

During the fire early Friday morning, Marie Michalek found her way onto the roof. Minutes later, her neighbor who she had never met before put up his ladder.

The Michalek's now know that neighbor's name, Tom Warnock. His rescue efforts did not turn out to be the most significant part of his day. Tom immediately drove his pregnant wife to the hospital where she delivered a son.

Back on Wayne Avenue, police said they were dealing with an arson that also damaged John and Evelyn Barbaro's home on Eighth Avenue.

It was the second arson since July in this neighborhood.

"I'm very angry, you know, why pick on us?" John Barbaro said.

"If this is just a thrill-seeker, they get a kick out of setting fires, it has to be, has to be. And I just hope they catch them," Evelyn added.

Carbondale Police said they have narrowed down some persons of interest.

The victims said, thanks to the help of a neighbor. They can now move on.

"My whole family is alive, and our pets are alive, and that's all that really matters. I mean, I lost a lot of memories, but we'll make new ones," Michalek added.


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