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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Williamsport Area Firefighter Dies In Fire At His Home

Article Photos

A fire at a mobile home at 267 Sawmill Road in Hepburn Township that claimed the life of Scottie Lee Wettlaufer, 23, burns out of control in photo, submitted to the Sun-Gazette’s Virtual News Room by Linda M. Avery of Cogan Station.

Hepburn Township volunteer firefighters battled with flames and with their emotions Wednesday morning when one their own members perished in a fire that destroyed his family’s mobile home.

“We were hoping to God that he wasn’t in there,” one volunteer firefighter who fought the two-alarm blaze said.

The firefighter, Scottie Lee Wettlaufer, 23, was found in a back bedroom of the mobile home at Brass Mobile Home Park at 267 Sawmill Road in the township, Lycoming County County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. said.

Wettlaufer lived there with his father, John Wettlaufer, and the father’s girlfriend, Sandy Jones, both of whom already had left for work when a neighbor in the park reported the fire about 7:45 a.m., Kiessling said.

“Nobody knew he was in there. Even if they did, there was no way they could go in. It was too late,” said Stanley Brass, the owner of the park.

“When I got here, flames were just starting to break out through the front of the home. The place was full of smoke,” said Brass, who lives in the park. A tenant in the park had alerted him to the blaze.

Wettlaufer’s father learned of the blaze shortly after arriving at work and raced back home. Fearing the worst, he made a mad dash toward the home but was pulled out of harm’s way by firefighters.

It took an hour for firefighters to bring the blaze under control, and Kiessling’s office was alerted when they found Wettlaufer’s body about 9 a.m.

Kiessling said it appeared that Wettlaufer tried to escape but was overcome by smoke.

This article by Philip A. Holmes can be read in it's entirety in the Williamsport Sun Gazette.

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