Body found inside home after blaze

FORKSVILLE – Investigators are seeking dental records in an effort to identify a person found dead Monday in a house fire on Norton Road in Forks Township near here, according to Sullivan County Coroner Wendy Hastings.

“All indications are that the victim perished in the fire,” Hastings said Tuesday morning, shortly after an autopsy on the victim was completed at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Hastings said she did not want to release the gender or suspected age of the victim “until we have a positive identification,” which could come late this afternoon.

A neighbor told WNEP-TV that a man owned the house, but he did not live there year-round.

The home, about four miles north of here, was engulfed flames when firefighters arrived on the scene about 10:45 a.m., Donald Armes, a Forksville assistant fire chief, said.

Also on fire was an outbuilding about three feet away as well as a three-car garage about 20 feet away, Armes said. The house and both out buildings were destroyed along with a pickup truck and two cars in the garage, Armes said.

The blaze was brought under control just after noon, but due to the extent of damage, the victim’s body was not found until 3:15 p.m. The body was at the front of the house, Hastings said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. A state police fire marshal was at the scene, but a news release on the fatal blaze still had not been issued on Tuesday night.

In addition to Forksville, firefighters from Eldredsville, Dushore, Mildred, New Albany, Shunk and Hillsgrove fought the fire. Firefighters shuttled tankers to the scene from a pond about five miles away.

This was the second fire in region in as many days.

Flames tore through a Dushore area home in the 1200 block of Hayes Road in Cherry Township about 1:45 p.m. Sunday, according to Todd Wells, an assistant Dushore fire chief.

No one was home in the three-story structure, which was engulfed in flames when volunteer firefighters arrived. It was a rental property owned by a West Chester man, Wells said.

The fire was about four miles north of Dushore, and firefighters could see “a large plume of smoke in the sky” three miles away, Wells said.

To reach the blaze, fire crews had to go up a very icy snow-covered driveway that was more than a half a mile long.

Radiant heat already had engulfed an SUV in the driveway, Wells said.

Firefighters poured between 16,000 to 20,000 gallons of water on the fire in order to put it out. Tankers were shuttled from a hydrant in Dushore, Wells said. It took about 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire is possibly electrical in nature, Wells said.

In addition to Dushore, firefighters from Mildred, Laporte, Forksville and Wyalusing responded.