MOUNT CARMEL — A woman was rescued from the second floor of a burning Oak Street apartment building by firefighters Sunday afternoon as a dramatic scene unfolded in the downtown.
The woman, whose name was not reported Sunday, was at first unresponsive, according to emergency communications from the scene, but was later conscious and breathing on her own, and was transported to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, for treatment of apparent smoke inhalation.
A call reporting heavy smoke at 221 S. Oak St. was made at about 2:45 p.m., bringing out firefighters from the borough and surrounding communities.
State police fire marshal Kirk Renn said Sunday evening the cause is being ruled “undetermined” until more interviews can be conducted. He confirmed the fire originated in Apartment No. 3 on the second floor facing Oak Street, but couldn’t provide details as to where in the apartment he believed it started. He said there are five apartments in the building.
Mount Carmel Fire Chief Jack Williams said the woman rescued from the second floor was carried down the stairs and out the front door. He wouldn’t speak to her condition or provide a name, but emergency communications indicated she was unconscious when brought outside. Life Flight was alerted, although its use was uncertain because of heavy cloud cover, but the woman soon thereafter was reported to be conscious and breathing on her own. She was transported to Geisinger by ambulance.
Another person was assisted out of the building from the first floor, and sustained no injuries. All other occupants in the first and third floors were able to get out on their own, Williams said.
The chief said he believes a person on the first floor called in the fire, and firefighters arrived to heavy smoke. The flames were contained to the second floor, with the front side sustaining most of the damage.
Ladder trucks from Shamokin and Mount Carmel were used to provide light inside the second and third floors through windows that were smashed out or opened to ventilate the structure.
The fire was under control in approximately 30 minutes, Williams said.