Woman killed in North Lebanon Township fire

NORTH LEBANON TWP., Pa. - A 78-year-old woman is dead after a residential fire broke out Friday afternoon, officials say.

Neighbors who were on-scene Friday said the woman lived in the home and is confined to a wheelchair.

Crews were called to the 800 block of Kimmerlings Road, which is between Mt. Zion Road and 8th Avenue, around 2:15 p.m. Friday. It took fire personnel at least an hour to put out the fire.

"Due to the fire conditions on arrival, we were not able to make entry and the victim did not survive the fire," said Chief Allen Firestine of the Rural Security Fire Company.

Neighbors attempted to pull the victim to safety before emergency crews arrived, but were unsuccessful.

"There were two other gentlemen here, they were running around the backside trying to get into the house and broke the back door open," said Darin Harding, who lives a few houses down from where the fire happened. "So much smoke was billowing out that we tried to go in, but we couldn't breathe."

Firefighters believe the home will be a total loss. It had no working smoke detectors. Investigators believe the fire began in the living room area of the home.

"We did come into a little bit of an issue with the roof area," Firestine said. "[With a] roof on top of a roof on top of a roof, the fire gets into the void area and you can't access it until you pull all the parts of the roof off. It's not usually common but this is the second one we found in the last five years."

Two people live in the home, and one of them was not there when the fire broke out, Firestine said.

"It is very devastating, terrible that a life is lost when we tried to get in to save her and just couldn't get in there," Harding said.

The victim will be identified once an autopsy is completed by the Lebanon County coroner's office, Firestine said.