Man Dies After Rescue from Girardville Fire

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GIRARDVILLE -- A man died after he and his wife were rescued from a fire at their home in Schuylkill County.

Crews were called out just after 7 a.m. Friday to the home on East Mahanoy Avenue in Girardville.

The fire chief rescued Christine Willis from the fire. Her husband Edward Willis was also rescued, but he later died at a hospital. Both had health issues.

Heavy smoke covered East Mahanoy Avenue in Girardville.

Fire crews tried to rescue all 10 people inside the double-block home.

"We rescued the woman from the top floor. We got her out. We got another woman out. Everyone else got out safely downstairs. One gentleman was trapped in the back of the building," explained Girardville Fire Chief Frank Zangari.

That man was Edward Willis who died from his injuries shortly after the fire.

"The smoke it what did the damage and the smoke is sadly what took Mr. Ed Willis' life," said Chief Zangari.

Four dogs were also killed in the fire.

Friends and neighbors say Willis had some health issues and used an oxygen tank.

Fire crews had to get those out of the home to prevent any explosion.

"There was probably over 40 oxygen tanks inside the building. I was able to get as many of them out as possible," said the chief.

Girardville Fire Chief Frank Zangari knows the family well, and even made sure this home had fire alarms installed a few years ago.

"My belief this morning as all the smoke alarms were going off on both those buildings, is thank God because I don't believe she would be out safely without smoke alarms."

Zangari also grew with up Ed Willis and says he'll be missed.

"Great guy, just retired from PennDOT, just trying to kick back and enjoy his life."

A state police fire marshal will try to determine the cause.

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