Firefighters Rescue Elderly Woman from Burning Home

HAZLETON, Pa. -- Firefighters rescued a woman from her burning home in Hazleton despite some very difficult circumstances.

It was snowing sideways on Thursday afternoon when firefighters showed up on North Grant Street and smoke was billowing out of the woman’s house.

Neighbor Mark Horiko said he tried to get her out but the smoke was just too thick.

“I ran over and was yelling her name and I heard her yelling but I couldn't get in to get her,” Horiko said.

Horiko said his neighbor is in her 80’s and she lives alone. When he saw her home filling up with smoke, he felt he had to do something.

“It was black, heavy, thick [smoke] I got a foot or two in the door and I had to get out,” Horiko said.

After Horiko tried to rescue his neighbor, firefighters showed up less than five minutes after being called.

“They immediately got in there. They were able to do a primary search one with one our deputy chiefs and a firefighter, they were able to locate her and remove her from the structure. We had another crew attacking the fire at that time,” Hazelton Fire Chief Donald Leshko said.

Chief Leshko said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Neighbors and chief Leshko were impressed by all the hard work the fire department put in to save this woman’s life.

“I'm so very thankful for the job they do as chief, but the residents of Hazleton should be very thankful for having such trained firefighters. They go in day in and day out to do this job,” Chief Leshko said.

“Oh god relief, especially when I saw her coughing. She was all totally black and everything but she started coughing which was a good sign,” Horiko said.

At last check, the fire chief told Newswatch 16 the woman is in stable condition at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.