LEHMAN TWP. — Crews battled flames for more than 7 1/2 hours Sunday after a home overlooking Lake Silkworth in Lehman Township caught fire.
The home of Eric and Carol Rambus went up in flames just before 10 a.m. while the couple were at church. Three dogs and a cat died in the blaze.
The Rambuses’ daughter-in-law, Megan Rambus, said the pets’ deaths dealt a devastating blow to her in-laws. The mastiffs, named Sequoia, Choctaw and Digger, were part of the family, she said.
“We tried to get them out … . They don’t care about materials. They don’t care about any of that. All they wanted was their dogs. The house is replaceable,” Rambus said. “They were their lives, those animals.”
Lake Silkworth, Back Mountain Regional, Jackson Township, Idetown, Shavertown and Sweet Valley fire departments crewed to fight the fire. After 3 p.m., Edwardsville Fire Department was dispatched to support the operation as tankers traversed Lakeside Drive, trucking water from the lake’s inlet near state Route 29 to a retention pond set up to keep the hoses full.
The Rambuses will stay with family, said Mina Hontz, Red Cross-Wyoming Valley Chapter lead volunteer. Hontz was at the scene later in the day to support the family and help guide them through the first steps of getting back on their feet.
The Rambuses had fire insurance, Hontz said.
The nearby Double K Diner and Deli donated 50 sandwiches to feed the dozens of volunteer firefighters on the scene. The Red Rooster donated coffee that morning.
It was unclear at press time what started the fire that appeared to have destroyed much of the front side of the house and gutted the interior.