Shillington (PA) House Fire Claims Woman’s Life

The residence. Photo via Google Maps.

Keith Mayer

Reading Eagle, Pa.


Oct. 10—A woman died in a two-alarm house fire in Shillington, officials confirmed Sunday.

Fire crews were dispatched to 38 Philadelphia Ave. shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, and first responders quickly asked for a second alarm.

Acting Berks County Coroner Jonn M. Hollenbach said his office was called to the scene shortly before 7:30.

A woman believed to be a resident of the home was pronounced dead at 10:07 p.m. by Deputy Coroner Joseph Pothering, Hollenbach said.

“It was reported to this office that the house was rented and not occupied by the owner,” the coroner said in a press release.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday night at Reading Hospital. More information concerning identification, cause and manner of death will be released on Wednesday morning, Hollenbach added.

The home is owned by William and Suzanne Hurley, according to Berks County property records.

After firefighters were able to get into the building, they found someone deceased on the second floor, according to emergency reports.

Many people visited the fire scene Sunday morning and expressed disbelief at what happened the night before.

Emma Bausher, 83, who lives down the street from where the fire occurred, stood in front of the house and recalled what she saw the night before.

“It scared the heck out of me,” Bausher said. “The flames were just coming out the front windows. Big flames. Then before you know it, it was coming out the second floor. I was just surprised how the flames kept coming out.”

The most traumatic part of the night for Bausher was when she went outside.

“When I came out I heard a man yelling for someone to get out,” she said. “I keep thinking about that guy that was yelling for someone to get out. That still turns my stomach.”

Lyle Anderson, 76, who lives in Spring Township, was fighting back tears outside the Philadelphia Avenue home Sunday morning.

“This was my childhood home,” he said. “I didn’t think this would affect me like this.”

Anderson lived in the one side of the duplex and his grandfather lived in the other side. Anderson recalled the living room and dining room where he spent the first seven years of his life before the family moved.

He recalled walking across the street with his wagon to pick up a block of ice for the family’s ice box.

Anderson was looking through old photos on Friday and came across photos of his early life in the home.

“I pulled out a picture of my fifth birthday party in the living room of this house,” Anderson said.

“I also have a picture of my parents, my mother is holding me, and they are standing,” Anderson said pointing to a pair of chairs in the backyard. “The house is in the background. That picture is actually on my desk.”


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