The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 23, 2013

Danville house fire claims the life of retired truck driver

DANVILLE — A retired Danville truck driver died in a fire Monday afternoon, while his wife was able to escape with their dog.

Eugene Yohn, 88, of 11 Cross St., was found lying on the floor of an enclosed side porch.

His wife, Doris, who was reported to be about his age, thought her husband was behind her, according to fire officials.

Officials said Eugene Yohn had problems with his vision and medical problems that might have kept him from escaping the fire

“It’s just a shame,” Montour County Coroner Scott Lynn said.

Lynn said Mrs. Yohn discovered the fire in the porch area where their oxygen was kept.

 “She opened the door, and it was a wall of flames,” he said.

He doubted that an autopsy would be done. He said Yohn was probably overcome by the heavy smoke from the home, an older two-story white home with green shutters.

Eugene Yohn apparently tried to leave house through a back door to the side porch.

Lynn said he listed the time of death as 2:26 p.m., which is when he arrived at the scene.

Three state fire marshals, including trooper Kirk Renn of the Milton station, were investigating the cause late Monday. They may return today to continue their investigation.

The body wasn’t found until late in the afternoon. The alarm came in at 1:23 p.m.

Danville Fire Chief Don Lutz III said the roof of the home was being removed so fire marshals could continue their investigation. He said the house was sound — “an old plank home” — but it would eventually be torn down.

He said the most recent fatal fire in Danville occurred about five years ago at the Beaver Place mid-rise. The women died about two years after the fire from her injuries.

Lutz said firefighters made numerous attempts to enter the home but couldn’t because of the flames and smoke.

“When I got here, it was fully engulfed,” said Lutz, the first firefighter at the scene.

Firefighters were able to locate an oxygen line for the victim from the front door but couldn’t get further inside because of the wall of fire, he said. Mrs. Yohn also uses oxygen.

Mrs. Yohn was sitting outside on a chair in a neighbor’s yard for some time during the fire fight. Neighbors said their dog, Toby, an older beagle, was being kept at a neighbor’s house. Mrs.Yohn was eventually moved to a Danville ambulance so she could stay warm.

“There were men trying to get in the front door, but they couldn’t get past the front door because there was so much smoke. By the time I ran down the alley it was engulfed,” said Haleigh Allen, a college student home on break, who lives a block away on Railroad Street. She and her mother, Kathy Ashton, said their house faces the Yohn home at Cross and Steeb streets.

“We’ve lived here almost 15 years and we’ve known them a long time,” Allen said.

She said there was also a propane tank on the porch of the home.

Allen said she would see Eugene Yohn work in his yard and mow his lawn despite having vision problems.

“They were very sweet people,” Ashton said.

Before firefighters could enter the home, PPL Utilities employees arrived to cut the power to the home.

The rescue ladder from the Washington Fire and Hose Company was used to fully extinguish the blaze, which resurfaced numerous times through the roof. At one point while the rescue ladder was being used, part of the chimney fell down.

Robert Bebout, of the Red Cross Northeast Pennsylvania District Action Team, called for a spiritual leader for Mrs. Yohn, with her pastor, Mary Schmotzer, arriving. The Yohns were long-time members of Shiloh United Church of Christ in Danville. Bebout expected more Red Cross members to arrive to assist at the scene. He said the Danville Ambulance Service was providing oxygen for Mrs. Yohn.

A Danville ambulance took Mrs. Yohn to the home of her son, Mark Yohn, in the Danville area. A grandson, also named Mark, was at the scene.

Schmotzer said Yohn had been home-bound the past two years and was unable to go to church.

“This will be hard on the neighbors. The neighbors are really close where everybody did look out for everybody,” the pastor said.

A good friend of the Yohns, Anna Mae Gum, of Valley Township, said the Yohns also have a daughter, LeEllen, in Allentown.

“I was just on the phone with Doris at 10 a.m.,” Gum said.

Lutz estimated 60 firefighters responded from Danville, Mahoning Township and Catawissa companies. Danville fire police were also at the scene.

The fire chief, who will be ending his term as of Dec. 31, said, “This puts a damper on my two years.”

Also at the scene were Danville Police Chief Eric Gill, Sgt. William Wilt, patrolman Keith Davenport, Mahoning Township Police Chief Robert Blee and Cpl. Chad Thomas.

1
Text Only
News
  • Donations to Budd family near $60,000

    SHAMOKIN DAM — The Valley continues to give as fundraisers keep forming and donations steadily pour in for the Budd family, of Ohio, while Sharon Budd continues her fight back from drastic injuries suffered when a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass in Union County slammed through the windshield of the family’s vehicle three weeks ago.

    July 30, 2014

  • B-17 fly-over to honor 'Dutch' VanKirk

    NORTHUMBERLAND — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will soar in honor of the late Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk during his graveside services Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.