The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 26, 2012

Couple escapes safely from fire that destroys their mobile home

PAXINOS — A Northumberland County man and his girlfriend escaped an early Christmas morning fire with only the clothes on their backs, Stonington fire chief Kerry Yordy said Tuesday.

Paul Shingara, 53, was awakened around 3:30 a.m. by a noise — he couldn’t tell responders what exactly — and discovered a wood stove in the living room of his mobile home, at 4504 State Route 61, Shamokin Township, had caught fire, Yordy said.

Shingara could not be reached for comment later Tuesday.

Shingara quickly woke his girlfriend and the couple fled through a side door, Yordy said. Shingara then called emergency responders, who arrived and were able to contain the blaze to the home, Yordy said.

The mobile home was a total loss. Shingara has insurance and is being assisted by the Red Cross, Yordy said.

“The only thing he got out with were the clothes he had on,” Yordy said.

The fire is not suspicious and the fire marshal will not be investigating, Yordy said.

Shingara was treated on the scene for a small cut on his foot and one firefighter was treated at Sunbury Community Hospital and released after an anxiety attack, Yordy said.

Shingara’s girlfriend has an apartment in Shamokin, but lost most of her clothing in the fire, Yordy said.

She also lost her keys in the blaze and the couple was trying to figure out how to enter the residence Tuesday morning, said Robert Swank, Shingara’s neighbor. Swank had the couple over at his house while they tried to figure out a plan, he said.

Another neighbor, Ivan Faust, said he was awakened by a popping noise as the fire started.

“It felt like I had just closed my eyes,” he said. “I went out and just saw flames shooting up over the trees.”

About 35 firefighters responded, from the Upper Augusta, Lower Augusta, Stonington, Ralpho, Elysburg, Sunbury and Shamokin fire departments, Yordy said. Responders were on the scene for about two hours, he said.

Christmas Day fires are uncommon, said Yordy, who’s been a firefighter since 1981. But they do happen, especially when the weather gets colder.

“It’s been really cold the past couple of days and people have the woodburner fired up and the Christmas tree up,” he said.

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