SHAMOKIN — Harry Deitz, who worked as a photojournalist and editor for the Shamokin News-Dispatch and The News-Item for more than half a century and still covers fires, accidents and other events for the newspaper at age 92, recalled the day he was pressed into duty to cover the St. Edward’s Church fire 50 years ago today.
“I was sound sleep when I got the first call at about 2:05 a.m that heavy smoke was coming from the roof on the western side of St. Edward’s Church,” he said. “Seconds later, another call came from my wife’s aunt, Jane Smith, who lived on Spurzheim Street. I was starting out the kitchen door to the carport and the phone rang again. It was Paul MacElwee, the city editor, who said a second alarm was sounded from an electric call box in the Shamokin Street sector.”