Search for Cause of Deadly Bloomsburg Blaze

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BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- Investigators are trying to find out what led to a deadly fire in Columbia County.

Smoke and flames could be seen for blocks away after a house caught fire Monday night in Bloomsburg.

Firefighters say Ray Hunter, 65, lived in the home with his girlfriend. He died in the fire.

Investigators were back on the scene on East 4th Street Tuesday trying to figure out what caused the fire, but it wasn't easy.

"You could classify this property as a potential hoarding property," said Bloomsburg Fire Chief Scott McBride.

Crews tell Newswatch 16 there are feet of debris piled up inside the house, which made it difficult to figure out what caused the fire.

State police fire marshals believe the fire was accidental but have not yet determined what caused it.

Chief McBride says crews had a hard time getting inside.

"It was literally like walking on marshmallow. It was that full of stuff. And then that all catches on fire and absorbs the water," said the chief.

Neighbor Robert Lloyd was sitting on his porch across the street when he saw the smoke.

"Cracked the door and was saying both of their names and no response. That was when the smoke poured out, and at that point, my brother placed the phone call," said Lloyd.

"I ran down the hill and came down and saw the house was on fire. They were there for six, seven hours before they took him out," said Kristel Pierre-Piere.

"We were probably two, three blocks down and we were still breathing in the smoke. It was pretty bad," Damon Gearhart said.

State police are still investigating the cause of the fire but do not believe it was suspicious.

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