East Pennsboro man died after return to burning home

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – A 47-year-old man died in an early morning fire in his Cumberland County home.

Richard Wealand died of smoke inhalation, according to Coroner Charley Hall. The fire that started just before 3 a.m. in the 400 block of State Street in East Pennsboro Township.

A neighbor says she called 911 after she noticed the flames. She said the fire spread quickly.

Another woman staying nearby, Debra Scibetta, got up from bed to check it out and found the woman living in the burning home.

“I asked her what happened, is there anybody left in the house?” Scibetta said. “She said her husband.”

Wealand died before firefighters could get to him.

“I said, ‘what happened?’ and she said that her husband came home from work and put the oven on and went up to take a shower,” Scibetta said.

Firefighters were told the same story and confirm the fire started in the kitchen.

“It’s a very old house,” said John Bruetsch, Cumberland County public information officer. “A lot of wood spaces in the walls and everything, fire in the walls.”

They were told Wealand got out of the shower, escorted his wife and two dogs outside, but ran back inside the burning home. Bruetsch said he didn’t even make it up the stairs.

“Get out and stay out,” Hampden Township fire administrator Doug Cochenaur said. “That’s the main thing.”

Gochenaur says a burning building can turn fatal within minutes.

“Have a plan, follow the plan,” he said. “Have two ways out, have a central meeting place, and get out and stay out.”

He says nothing lost in the flames is worth the loss of a life.

“My prayers go out to that family,” Scibetta said. “They have no house, they lost their father, husband.”

A state police fire marshal is investigating.

The American Red Cross is assisting four adults following the fire.

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