Woman and Dog Die in Pottsville Fire

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- One woman is dead after flames broke out at a house in Schuylkill County.

This normally quiet neighborhood was awakened by fire trucks just before midnight Thursday, working to put out the flames at this double block home on West Howard Avenue in Pottsville.

"The porch was in flames, lots of fire trucks, it was pretty scary," said Janet Terefenko. "I tried to call the neighbors to make sure they were out of their house, I couldn't get an answer. I was concerned about the people in their houses."

Officials confirm a woman was killed after being trapped in the home. Lorrie Botella, 42, was rescued from the home, but later died at the hospital. A dog was also lost in the blaze.

The Pottsville fire chief said his crew did everything they could to save Botella.

"The guys did a great job. I got to give them credit. They risked their lives in there. They got her out as quick as they could you know," explained Pottsville Fire Chief James Misstishin.

While the firefighters were inside the home, they did not hear any smoke alarms.

"We could not find any, and I will reaffirm that when we do our investigation but right now it doesn't look like there are any working smoke alarms," said Misstishin.

The other side of the double block home has heavy fire damage, while the home on the other side suffered heavy smoke and water damage.

We spoke to the man who lives on the other side of the double block home to where that fire began. He did not want to speak to us on camera but said he's a volunteer firefighter in Pottsville. He said he wishes he knew that Botella was still inside and that he could've done something to save her.

While investigators continue to search for the cause of that blaze, neighbors are trying to cope with the loss of one of their own.

"We've been here almost 30 years and we've never had a fire on this street. And I don't ever want to see another one," said  Lisa Gray, who lives a few doors down from where the fire began. "God bless whoever's involved, these are all good people here, and it just breaks my heart," added Gray, who became emotional.

Seven people are displaced after the blaze, and they are being helped by the Red Cross.

A state police fire marshal is looking into what started the deadly fire here in Schuylkill County.

1 Comment

  • P Andrew Melville

    In the fire, did we find the peace with God when all else is gone? When all the noise of life is quiet in the ashes? Pottsville was a big copper mining area before the age of Al Gore. Many useful metals were found with it. Al Gore is not very useful.

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