1 Dead in Late Night Pottsville House Fire
Fire claimed the life of one person and destroyed a Howard Avenue home in the Yorkville section of Pottsville overnight Thursday into Friday.
Some fire officials remained at the scene into the early morning hours tamping down hot spots at 1971 Howard Avenue.
According to WBRE/WYOU reporter Anja Whitehead, the fire claimed the life of one woman and her pet dog.
— Anja Whitehead -Eyewitness News (@NewsAnja) December 6, 2019
UPDATE: Victim Identified as Lorrie Botella, 42
Authorities have identified 42-year-old Lorrie Botella as the woman deceased in the fire. Pottsville Fire Chief James Misstishin tells WNEP-TV that firefighters risked their lives in an attempt to save Botella’s.
Botella was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died.
Misstishin says he didn’t see any working smoke alarms in the home on his first inspection.
Howard Avenue Fire in Pottsville
The call went out just before midnight Thursday. Stations from around the city and outside Pottsville got a dispatch to the scene. Others from outside Pottsville provided necessary backup in case another call rang out while the city crews were occupied.
Flames were shooting from 1971 Howard Avenue in Pottsville as firefighters arrived on the scene.
Here’s a look at what the area looked like prior to the fire Thursday night and Friday morning:
Emergency radio dispatchers indicated that there could be a second-store entrapment (person stuck inside) the burning building.
The Canary arrived just after most of the flames were knocked down in the front of the building. Crews from around Pottsville, the greater Pottsville area, Schuylkill Haven, and more worked through the wee hours containing a thick, heavy smoke.
The smoke blew to the southeast, into the Rock Street back alley behind Howard Avenue, where another group of firefighters worked to contain the blaze from the back of the house.
Pottsville Police and EMS assisted at the scene through the night.
Flames Reignite, Neighbors Evacuated – EMS Assist
At one point, flames reignited on the third floor of 1971 Howard Ave., presumably where the fire started. Firefighters can be seen in the neighboring 1973 Howard Avenue getting access to the burning roof next door.
You can see in our photos below, one brave firefighter started trying to control the flare-up by hand.
Within about 15 minutes, the crew on the roof had these flames mostly contained. On the ground, two ladders got into place, readying to extinguish the flames and smoke from above.
Power was out to much of the 1900 block of Howard Avenue throughout the fire fight.
Before 3 a.m., PPL Electric was able to restore power to all homes on the block except 1969 Howard Ave., 1971 Howard Ave., and 1973 Howard Ave.
It appears 1971 Howard Avenue sustained serious damage in the blaze. It’s likely a total loss. The adjoining 1973 was also choked up with smoke and firefighters had to access its attic through the windows at one point.
Smoke poured into 1969 Howard Ave., too.
At least one other nearby resident was treated at the scene for minor injuries, the Canary can confirm. A total of 7 people were displaced by Thursday night’s fire.
Here’s what people are saying about the fire online. Note: most people here likely have no confirmation of any details. However, we post this because of some photos that eyewitnesses took from the scene: