TOWANDA TOWNSHIP — A Towanda Township home is considered a total loss after a reported explosion sparked a fire that engulfed the mobile home on Tuesday afternoon.
According to fire officials, the fire began just before 1 p.m. and was fully involved by the time fire crews arrived shortly after.
Carol Burnett, the owner of the Meredith Colony RV Park where the burnt mobile home is located, said that she was in her car at the park when she heard a loud boom.
“I thought it was a car wreck,” she said on Tuesday.
Another neighbor who wished not to be named said she too heard the boom and also thought it was a car wreck on the busy Route 220 nearby. The neighbor then heard someone yelling “help” and saw someone walking over to their home on their own power with visible burns. The neighbor then aided the burn victim and called 911.
Other neighbors were also caring for a dog that had survived the blast. The dog had some singed hair and a possible burn on its nose but seemed to be otherwise healthy. Another dog that lived in the home has not yet been located.
Towanda Second Assistant Fire Chief Joe Shay said on Tuesday evening that one person was in the home at the time of the fire, the homeowner, and was taken by ambulance to the Bradford County Airport where they were life flighted to a hospital in Lehigh Valley via helicopter. He could not say how many people resided in the home.
A Fire Marshal will investigate the fire Wednesday morning, according to Shay. They will then make an official judgement on the origin of the blaze.
Towanda, Monroeton, Wysox, and North Towanda fire crews were all on scene to fight the blaze. Guthrie Memorial EMS as well as Guthrie Life Flight and other emergency responders were also on scene.
A 38-year-old Towanda woman is facing theft related charges after allegedly taking approximately $18,222.95 from two separate Subway restaurants in Sayre and Wyalusing over the course of a year.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania State Police interviewed the victim on Feb. 25 and she related that several deposits from the restaurant location were not put into the bank as required. The restaurant required an employee to take possession of the cash deposits in order to transport them to the bank where they were to sign for the money.
All deposits in question were signed by Tabitha Torres, who was promoted to manager on Jan. 2, 2018 and was given access to the safe where the deposits were kept, along with the responsibility of transporting the deposits to the bank.
The thefts occurred over the span of time from Jan. 13, 2018 to Nov. 15, 2018 in the Sayre location and from Dec. 10, 2018 to Jan. 27 at the Wyalusing location. Torres had been relieved from her managerial duties on Nov. 15, 2018 and the missing deposits stopped at the Sayre location. Torres was asked to fill in at the Wyalusing location due to the regular manager being absent for training, which is when the missing deposits appeared there.
The victim confronted Torres about the missing deposits at the Wyalusing location and Torres had no explanation as to where they had gone and requested that the money be taken out of her future paychecks, according to the affidavit.
Torres is facing charges of felony theft by unlawful taking — moveable property in the third degree and felony receiving stolen property in the third degree.
Torres has a preliminary hearing on Nov. 22 with Magisterial District Judge Larry Hurley.
TOWANDA BOROUGH — Members of the Bradford County Veterans Memorial Association assessed the damage of the Bradford County Memorial Veterans Park after it was vandalized on Monday.
Robert Wayne Devine, 57, of Towanda, was arrested by Towanda Borough Police Chief Randy Epler after Epler was called by a Towanda Borough employee who witnessed the defacing of the park from the borough’s office adjacent to the park on Monday.
“I can’t understand how somebody would do this to a veterans park,” said Roy Schrimp, operations manager of the BCVMA, on Tuesday.
Schrimp said that the damage included numerous turned over stones and plaques, bricks with the names of Bradford County veterans removed and scattered, and benches moved from their sealed positions.
“There wasn’t anything severely damaged beyond repair,” Schrimp added.
The group said that any bricks pulled up will be placed back as soon as possible and that no family should worry about their loved ones’ bricks being damaged.
“If they were damaged, we’re going to take care of it,” said George Crowell, chief administrator of the BCVMA.
The group will have to move the bricks to their former positions, reseal the benches and the base of some large stones that were jostled, as well as replace some plaques that were damaged. The estimated cost of the repairs is $15,000.
Schrimp said that the park is insured, but they are not sure of how much of the damages will be covered by the insurance.
“Most of the stuff we do here is volunteer, we have a good organization and the borough supports us,” he added. “It’ll be okay, it’s just disheartening that somebody would do this.”
“Thank goodness he didn’t break anything that couldn’t be replaced or that anyone got hurt,” Crowell said.
The organization is grateful for the quick response from Towanda Borough Police and the borough employee who spotted the damage as it was being done.
“If someone were to do this at night, who knows how much damage would’ve been done,” Schrimp remarked.
Devine is currently held at the Bradford County Correctional Facility on $5,000 bail.