A Northampton County firefighter, who was set to dress up as Santa Claus to deliver presents to kids, lost his home in a fire that also damaged two other properties.
The two-alarm fire started at a duplex on the 1500 block of Washington Street in Wilson Borough Sunday morning and spread to another home as well as a business. The sound of screaming and heat from the flames woke up Salima Kaushial.
"The heat was just unbearable and we were just all so scared," she said.
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Flames from the fire melted siding and parts of a nearby car.
"I was there within four minutes of the call if not sooner and there were flames out past the sidewalk," said Wilson Borough Fire Department Chief Joseph Sipel.
A man and a responding firefighter both suffered burns to their hands. The fire also destroyed the home of Charlie Wacik, a firefighter who is set to retire in a few months and who also planned on volunteering as Santa Claus Sunday to deliver gifts to children on a firetruck. Those plans were canceled due to the fire.
The Wilson Borough community plans on helping Wacik and his family get back on their feet.
"They give out candy to the kids," Kaushial said. "They're here for us. And to have this happen to them? It's just devastating."
Officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire and are interviewing residents on the block.