June 10--One man was taken to a hospital Monday night after a fire in Tobyhanna Township. Neighbors said they helped the man escape from his smoke-filled modular home.
Around 7:30 p.m., firefighters from Tobyhanna and Tunkhannock townships responded to a home on Campstead Circle, a community just southeast of the intersection of routes 115 and 940.
When they arrived, the fire was fully involved, according to Tobyhanna Township Volunteer Fire Co. Assistant Chief Ed Tutrone. The single occupant of the home was outside when they arrived.
Crews initially called for a medical helicopter for the man, but heavy fog in the area prevented a landing. Crews eventually transported him to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. His condition was unknown Monday night.
Two neighbors on Campstead Circle -- Scott Goodale and Ray Martin -- said they went inside the house to rescue their neighbor before firefighters arrived. Goodale said their wives were walking their dogs when they noticed smoke coming from the house.
"It was coming out all the windows, like all of the windows," Peggy Martin said. "It looked like there was smoke coming out of the roof."
Goodale, a longtime volunteer firefighter, said he grabbed his extinguisher and headed to the house. He said even though he stayed low, he wasn't able to spend much time in the house.
"You can only see this far," he said, holding his arm out. "It's like you're chewing on charcoal."
Martin followed him in. He said they barely managed to reach the homeowner, who was crawling toward the door.
"When I tried to pull him out, I couldn't breathe anymore, I couldn't see," Martin said. "So I had to get out myself."
Goodale said that finally, on his second attempt, he was able to get the man out the front door. They were also able to turn off two tanks sitting in front of the house.
Peggy Martin said she feared that if the fire hadn't been noticed, it could have been worse.
"If that would have happened under a night sky, he would have been a goner," she said.
Goodale, who said he has trouble walking from a broken leg last year, said the experience was a good reminder of why he got out of the firefighting business.
"I'm too old for this. It's a young man's and young woman's game," he said.
Copyright 2014 - Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.