Berks

2 people killed in mobile home fire near Centerport

2 cats, 3 dogs also died

CENTRE TWP., Pa. - Two people were killed in a fire that gutted a mobile home in Berks County.

Neighbors reported the fire in the 100 block of Shamrock Avenue in Centre Township just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"The wife heard the explosion. There was a loud bang," said Jake Youse. "We got over there. The flames were terrible... "the whole first half of the house was in flames already."

Youse said he did what he could to reach the people trapped inside, but he was pushed back by the intense fire.

"I opened the door and got halfway in there, but the heat was just unbelievable," he told WFMZ's Jim Vasil. "I never experienced anything like that there.... I thought there was a chance. No good. Lost a good friend."

Firefighters rushed to the scene and got the fire under control in about 20 minutes.

"We had a pretty quick response. We were out in four minutes. It was only two miles from the station," said Central Berks fire Chief Dennis Kunkle. "We pulled up, the trailer was three quarters of the way involved already."

One of the first firefighters on the scene also attempted a rescue, according to another neighbor.

"I don't know who the fireman was, [but] what a fireman," Tom Unger, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, told WFMZ's Josh Rultenberg. "That guy went through their back window and took their air conditioner out and window unit and dove in there. It's unfortunate what he found, but he was a heck of a man."

The victims, identified by Pennsylvania State Police as Scott E. Taulker, 57, and Maureen A. Taulker, 74, were found dead in their bedroom, officials told 69 News.

"He was a good guy," Youse shared. "Yeah, every morning, every time I go to walk the dog here. He retired. He's a truck driver and I'm a truck driver, and he retired last year. I seen him every morning here. The guy always had a good 'hello.'"

The fire, which is believed to have started in the center of the home, does not appear to be suspicious, according to PSP Trooper Janssen Herb, a state police fire marshal with Reading-based Troop L, who is working to determine the cause.

No smoke detectors were found inside the home, Herb said.

"If they did, it would have helped," Kunkle told 69 News. "It should have woke them up."

In addition to Central Berks, Shoemakersville, Leesport, Hamburg, Bernville, and Mt. Pleasant fire companies responded to the scene.


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