One county sees four house fires in two days


TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WOLF) -- With temperatures in the single digits, multiple fire departments in the Poconos were back out in the cold fighting flames on Sunday.

In all, we've covered four house fires in Monroe County over the past two days. Tonight, we have more on the two new fires.

Neighbors say a Philadelphia couple owned the second home on Towanda Trail near Lake Arrowhead, that was also used by vacationers. It burned around noon Sunday.

"I thought my brother started a fire in the fireplace, and then my dad was like, 'Hey guys, you should get dressed because there's a fire,' and I came out, didn't expect flames that big, and the whole thing was on fire," says neighbor Chrissy Olewnik.

"There was I guess a renter here, which they turned the keys in this morning," says Tobyhanna Twp. Fire Chief Troy Counterman.

The house, owned by Russell Rokicki, was destroyed.

"It was fully involved when we arrived," says Thornhurst Fire Chief Dave McFadden. We asked about issues with weather. "No, not yet. Hopefully, we don't."

"Within seconds of us being dispatched, we were told that it was fully involved and then you see what we showed up to," says Counterman.

"We're going into our overhaul phase now. We've got all the heavy flame knocked down. We're just gonna start picking it apart so we don't have to come back later on," says Counterman.

And just about 10 hours after being dispatched to a house fire that we told you about last night, Pocono Twp. firefighters were called to another fire.

"I think it was people up for the weekend skiing, and they were all standing outside, so it was just a chimney that was on fire and then it spread to the roof," says neighbor Joe McManus.

"We were very nervous about flames coming over this way," says neighbor Ralph Reich. "Nobody got hurt, thankfully, and thankfully our house is still standing."

The fire around 10:30 p.m. Saturday damaged another second home, owned by Frank Filopei of the Bronx. Most of the house is still standing.

We talked to the chief about it while he was back at a Sylvan Cascade Road home that burned down Saturday, because the flames had re-ignited on Sunday.

"They had a fire going in the fireplace. It looks like it started in the chimney chase and went up the roof line," says Pocono Twp. Fire Chief Brad Harrison. "There were smoke alarms in the house. It was actually a neighbor that saw the fire burning on the outside that called the fire in and alreted the people inside."

As for Sunday's re-kindle déjà vu, firefighters were dispatched at noon Sunday and used foam this time.

Harrison the original fire is apparently accidental due to unattended cooking. Everyone inside was safe.

"Obviously, we were here for six hours last night, and went through it with our cameras and everything, and didn't see anything. But, with the cold and the wind and everything else, it all plays into it," says Harrison.

So what about all these fires?

"We're in single digits and teens as far as the tempartures, so people are burning wood more, and they have other heat sources that they don't normally run," says Harrison.

"Just trying to get everybody out of here before our trucks freeze up. It's only four degrees out," says Counterman.

Harrison says the Red Cross is helping out the family on Sylvan Cascade Road. The cause of the fire near Lake Arrowhead is under investigation.

There was also another fire on Saturday morning in Chestnuthill Township.

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