Snowball Fight Benefits Victims of Pa. House Fire

The snowballers donated money for people left homeless after a fire in Rush Township last month.

Feb. 17--TAMAQUA -- Snowballs flew Sunday afternoon during a community snowball battle fundraiser at Willing Park in the borough.

The event, attended by about 50 people, was organized by Andrew Leibenguth, Tamaqua, as a way for people to relieve winter stress and to bring the community together for a fun winter event.

While Leibenguth said it wasn't required, he asked for a $1 donation from each participant, which was to benefit the victim's of last month's fire on Ben Titus Road in Rush Township that left five people homeless and heavily damaged a home.

According to newspaper archives, fire and rescue units from several area fire companies responded about 8:15 a.m. Jan. 10 to a single home at 92 Ben Titus Road, about a mile east of Route 309 in Ginthers.

Josh Grim, captain of the Hometown Fire Company, previously said an elderly woman, later identified as Rose Mashak, suffered burns to her feet and was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest after she was initially to St. Luke's Hospital-Miners Campus, Coaldale.

Two other occupants of the home, Aaron Gimbel and Megan Devlin, were not injured, state police at Frackville said previously.

A state police fire marshal ruled the fire accidental and blamed an electric space heater for causing the blaze fire.

"I put it together just as a fun thing to do," Leibenguth said. "It wasn't a fundraiser at first, then people kept saying I should."

Leibenguth planned for the even to last 20 minutes, but it went on for about 45 minutes.

It was split into events for different age groups.

First, he had the young children try to build structures with snow and buckets, then there were numerous battles.

Before the event he chose four captains and had everyone split into four teams.

The events that followed included building forts out of snow, a battle where snowballs could only be thrown at the captains -- who wore leprechaun hats -- a battle where the team had to protect its captain and another that was a free-for-all.

"I'm hoping every year will get bigger and better," Leibenguth said. "The Guinness record (for a snow battle) is 5,000 (people) in Seattle.

"There's unofficial ones that are over 1,000 people in Bloomsburg, but they kind of get a little violent. Ours is going to be fun and family oriented," he said

The community snowball battle was planned for about a month ago, but was postponed due to ice.

Many who attended and participated were from Tamaqua, but others, like Kathy Kromer, traveled to Willing Park from New Ringgold.

Kromer got to be a team captain during the battle.

"I loved it," she said. "I would be a captain anytime for it. For the first one, it was great."

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