WEST PENN TWP., Pa. – Two volunteer firefighters died after responding to a smoky fire that burned a home in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County, Wednesday afternoon, according to the coroner.
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Marvin Gruber, 59, and Zachary Paris, 36, died after being called to the fire in the 1100 block of Clamtown Road in West Penn Township, near Tamaqua, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
Paris was the assistant fire chief of the New Tripoli Fire Company in Lehigh County.
A firefighters’ labor union in Frederick County, Maryland, posted Wednesday night that Paris joined the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Service last February and graduated in September. The post also said Paris leaves behind his wife and two young daughters.
Gruber was the assistant chief of Northampton Community College’s Department of Public Safety.
They were searching for a person reported trapped in the house, and while fighting the flames, there were multiple maydays given, state police say.
Multiple sources said the firefighters were pulled from the burning home and taken to the hospital, where they later died.
A third person was found on the property behind the home, state police say. Authorities have not said how that person, who is not a firefighter, died.
“Along with the house fire, there was a body located on this property, behind the property, so that is still an active investigation on how the person died, who that person was,” said Tpr. David Beohm, Pennsylvania State Police.
Police also said two people lived at the home, and that those two people are not in the home anymore, but authorities did not say what their conditions are.
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The causes of death for the firefighters also have not yet been reported.
Multiple emergency vehicles were parked on both sides of the house where the fire happened.
Fire crews from three counties responded to the three-alarm blaze.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.