CONYHGHAM TWP. — A woman perished Thursday in a fire that consumed her home on Main Street in the Mocanaqua section of the township.
Michelle Dzoch, 52, of 76 Main St., was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:50 p.m., according to the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office.
Dzoch’s daughter, Holly Dzoch, and Holly’s two young sons made it out of the home safely, Pennsylvania State Police Deputy Fire Marshal Karri Dobson said at the scene.
Dobson, who is investigating the fire along with Deputy Fire Marshal Ron Jarocha, said the fire started on the second floor of the two-story home and was contained to the second floor and the roof, which collapsed. Dobson and Jarocha are still investigating the cause.
Dzoch’s body was found on the second floor, Dobson said.
Dobson confirmed that the Dzoch family was renting the home from a state trooper who was currently out of town. County property records indicate the home is owned by state Trooper Stanley Betkoski.
Dobson also confirmed that troopers Robert Bednar and Lawrence Napierkowski, criminal investigators with state police at Shickshinny, were called in to assist with the investigation.
She would not confirm that there was confusion about dispatch of the proper fire personnel to the scene, and she said that question will be addressed as part of the investigation.
A county 911 supervisor said the fire was first reported at 10:52 a.m. He said the fire chief reported from the scene at 10:58 a.m., but the supervisor declined to provide the time that the first fire truck arrived, saying drivers of fire apparatus don’t always report when arriving on-scene, and he didn’t want to provide inaccurate information.
Mocanaqua Fire Chief Stephen McDaniels referred all questions to state police.
The home is adjacent to B&S Distributors, a beer and convenience store at the corner of Main and Nicely streets. It’s a few hundred yards north of the fire station. Main Street — the only direct artery between Route 239 in Mocanaqua and U.S. Route 11 in Shickshinny, other than a driveable, one-lane stone path along a set of railroad tracks — was closed for about six hours.
Assisting at the scene were Shickshinny, Hunlock Creek, Berwick, East Berwick, Nanticoke and Newport Township fire companies along with Shickshinny and Pond Hill ambulance companies and Medic 95.