One dead in fire, deceased individual unidentified
FORKSVILLE - A fire on Monday at a residence in Forks Township claimed the life of one individual, the Sullivan County coroner said.
The fire destroyed the residence on 486 Norton Road, where one individual lived, state Trooper Josh Thompson said. He said that investigators didn't know where the individual was. He declined to say who lived in the house.
Firefighters and a state police fire marshal were able to recover a body from the fire, Sullivan County Coroner Wendy Hastings said.
Authorities have not been able yet to positively identify the body, she said.
Medical and dental records will be used to identify the body, she said. An autopsy is scheduled for today at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, Hastings said Tuesday night. A state police fire marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire, she said.
She said that when firefighters arrived on scene, the residence was already engulfed in flames.
Forksville Assistant Chief Donny Armes said that the fire was reported at approximately 10:30 a.m., and that firefighters arrived on scene about 10 minutes later.
Armes declined to say who owned the residence, and referred questions to the state police.
A mailbox at the end of the residence's driveway had the name "Miles" on it.
A neighbor, Larry Woolsey, said that the home was that burned was a seasonal home used by a Dr. Miles.
Miles was a retired doctor who had worked in the past in emergency rooms, Woolsey said. Miles used the residence as a base for hunting and fishing, and was on oxygen and bedridden according to Woolsey.
Woolsey said he became aware of the fire when he went to let his chickens out of the coop. He explained that he saw smoke and heard a rushing sound from the fire. At the time, he also heard explosions, he said.
Woolsey said he ran to the Miles residence, not knowing what kind of a fire it was.
He said he wasn't sure if it was someone burning brush or other items at the Miles residence, or if it was a structure fire. When he arrived at the Miles residence, it was engulfed in flames, and he heard more explosions while at the scene, Woolsey explained.
He said he was afraid to go inside the residence to try to see if Dr. Miles was inside, because he was concerned that there could be more explosions, such as an oxygen tank or a fuel tank detonating.
He said Miles was an avid hunter, and that some of the explosions could have been ammunition detonating.
He said that a member of one of the fire companies on scene told him he had made a smart choice by not going inside the burning building.
Woolsey said he probably wouldn't have been able to retrieve Dr. Miles, anyway, because he is "a big man" and because the fire was so far along at that point.
Woolsey said he ran back to his house and called 911.
Hastings said she pronounced the individual dead at the scene.
Besides the Forksville fire company, there were firefighters on scene from the Hillsgrove, Mildred, Dushore, Endless Winds, and Eldredsville.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.