Couple Loses Home to Blaze as Firefighters Battle Flames and Freezing Temps

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SLOCUM TOWNSHIP -- A couple in Luzerne County is dealing with the devastating loss of their home after a fire tore through the second floor and up through the roof.

That fire broke out in Slocum Township Friday afternoon, destroying everything inside, including the family's pets.

Huge flames and thick smoke shot from this house as fire tore through the second floor on Lilly Lake Road.

Dozens of volunteer fire companies rushed to the scene.

“Around 2:30, we were notified of a fire here, got on scene, heavy smoke coming from the second story, out of the eaves,” said Slocum Township Volunteer Fire Chief Ron Burd.

While firefighters attacked the fire, the fire chief says the flames spread up into the attic and through the roof.

Neighbors say the homeowners, a married couple, were both at work at the time.

“At work, I know a couple people are trying to get a hold of them, but they're not here yet,” said neighbor Barb Ruscvyk.

Ruscvyk was overcome with emotion seeing the home.

“There's no words. There's no words. You lose your life. It's gone up in flames. It could happen to anybody, especially this time of year. It's cold. They're good, quiet people. Nobody deserves that.”

Neighbor Charlie Kline said it was hard waiting for the homeowners to arrive, knowing what they were coming back to.

“That's it, yeah, just, you hope they get here, and I don't know. It's tough, tough time of year,” said Kline. “I just feel so bad for them.”

The husband eventually arrived and watched his home as he tried to contact his wife. Off camera he told Newswatch 16, their pets died in the fire.

“I know they lost, they said they lost the pets already,” said Ruscvyk.

“Anytime you lose a house, especially around Christmas time, it's not good,” said Chief Burd.

And the fire chief says the freezing conditions made their hard work, even harder, with water freezing on equipment and cutting down on manpower.

“Just getting people out, getting tired, some guys won't come out in the cold weather, you know,” said Chief Burd.

The fire chief says what caused the fire remains unknown at this time, but a state police fire marshal has been called to investigate.

The Red Cross is providing the homeowners with clothes, lodging, and food.

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