WEST PENN TWP., Pa. – The scene of a Schuylkill County house fire quickly became tragic Wednesday night, but there are still many questions.
Authorities have said two Lehigh County firefighters died after battling flames in the West Penn Township home.
2 volunteer firefighters die after battling Schuylkill County house fire
They also said a third person was found dead on property behind the home, but it’s not yet clear who that person was, how they died, or if anyone else was hurt.
“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 Trooper David Beohm, with Pennsylvania State Police, during a news conference with reporters late Wednesday night, about six hours after the fire was reported.
WATCH: News conf. on firefighters killed in line of duty
The West Penn Township police chief then said two people inside the home made it out, and the Red Cross was assisting.
Later in the interview, when pressed by reporters, authorities were less clear about what happened to those inside the home.
“Only two people lived in that house, and two people exited that house, yes,” said Chief James Bonner, West Penn Township police.
69 News reporter Rose Itzcovitz asked if they made it out safely, but authorities declined to elaborate.
Bonner said the two who lived there were an uncle and nephew, and both were home when the fire broke out.
Beohm stressed it was still a very active investigation, and authorities had to go through the burned home, as well as conduct an autopsy on the person found behind the home.
Authorities have not released any more information Thursday morning.
As for the firefighters killed, state police identified them as Marvin Gruber, 59, and Zachary Paris, 36, both with the New Tripoli Fire Company in Lehigh County. They were searching the burning home for people reported to be trapped inside when multiple maydays were called, police said. They were pulled from the home and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
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