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Police: 2 firefighters die in house fire; body found outside



TAMAQUA, Pa. — Two firefighters died in response to a house fire Wednesday in rural eastern Pennsylvania where the body of a man was found outside, state police said.

The New Tripoli Fire Company members who lost their lives were identified as Deputy Fire Chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, the Pennsylvania State Police Trooper said. David Beohm.

The body of another person was discovered Wednesday on the large lot surrounding the home in West Penn Township near Tamaqua, a small coal country town about 85 miles (137 kilometers) from Philadelphia.

He was identified Thursday as Christopher Kammerdiener, 35, according to Deputy Coroner Michael Bowman, who said Kammerdiener lived in the house that caught fire.

Officials did not provide further details of the investigation into Kammerdiener’s death.

Don Smith, Jr., a spokesman for the Lehigh County Communications Center, told a news conference Thursday that the two firefighters became trapped while trying to put out the blaze and that other firefighters worked quickly to try to rescue them. They were rushed to hospital, where they died, Smith said.

Officials said the causes of death and details of funeral arrangements would be released at a later date.

Paris lived and volunteered in New Tripoli, but worked as a professional firefighter in Frederick County, Maryland. He joined the county fire department as a freshman in February and had just graduated from the fire academy in September.

Survivors include his wife, two daughters, a sister and his parents.

“There are no words to describe the sadness that myself and members of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services Division feel today,” Fire Chief Tom Coe said. “Not only was Zach someone living his dream of becoming a career firefighter, he was also living his dream as a family man.”

Gruber worked at Northampton Community College for 22 years, the last 15 with the Department of Public Safety.

“He died a hero in the line of duty, doing what he did best, helping and protecting others while selflessly serving his community with honor and integrity,” said Chief Justice Keith Morris. school public safety.

West Penn Township Police Chief James Bonner said two other people — “an uncle and a nephew” — lived in the three-story single-family home. He added that two other firefighters had been treated for injuries.

They said more than 100 firefighters and officers responded shortly before 4 p.m., and Bonner called it an active crime scene. He said Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the investigation.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Cavalier David Beohm’s last name in a second reference.



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