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News Article
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Woman Dies at Pennsburg House Fire
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

            A smoldering fire in a home located in the 900 block of Main Street in Pennsburg may have claimed the life of local women.

            Volunteers from the Pennsburg Fire Company were dispatched, along with

Firefighters prepare to search the building where a smoldering fire was


several neighboring fire companies, around 3:30 last Thursday afternoon after a caller reported smoke from the windows at the address.

            The caller reported seeing "charred things inside … no flames lots of smoke."  An Upper Perk Police officer arrived on the scene shortly after and reported heavy smoke in the building.

            Smoke was coming from the rear, first-floor windows on the south side of the building when the first firefighters arrived.  Firefighters entered the building through a doorway on the south side of the building and quickly extinguished a small fire.

            According to Pennsburg Fire Company Assistant Chief Rob Malay, "The fire may have been burning up to an hour" generating smoke and heat until the oxygen level depleted to the point where flames were diminished but immense heat and smoke were still generated.

            There were smoke detectors in the building but none were sounding when firefighters arrived.

            Malay added that, while the fire was quickly extinguished, "the smoke was banked down to about a foot off the floor and it was shortly after firefighters began ventilating the building and searching for victims" when   the body of 71-year-old Betty Press, a resident of the home, was found seated near a door on the south side of the building.

            The Montgomery County Coroner's office completed an autopsy on Dec. 10. However, the cause and manner of death remain under investigation, according to First Deputy Coroner Alexander Balacki.

He said Monday afternoon that they won't be released until the fire marshal's investigation is completed and the office receives results on its own tests, which can take eight to 12 weeks to complete.

            State Police Fire Marshal Shawn Maher reported that the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

            The fire was reported under control a 4:12 p.m.  No damage estimate was available.

            Assisting at the scene were fire and fire police units from East Greenville, Green Lane, and Red Hill from Montgomery County, Hereford and Eastern Berks fire companies from Berks County, and Milford Township, and Quakertown from Bucks County.

            Also dispatched were Emergency Medical Units from Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association and Bally Community Ambulance Association.

            Main Street, from Eighth St. to Eleventh St. in Pennsburg was closed until 6:30 p.m.







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