Investigators are looking for the cause of a fire Thursday in Schuylkill County.

The home belongs to a volunteer firefighter and just seeing the damage was too much to handle.

The parents of firefighter Robert Reigel tried to console their son in front of his burned out home in Cressona. Fire wrecked the Chestnut Street home. Even important documents in a safe were charred.

Officials said the firefighter's wife stayed inside for a time, trying to save the family dog.

"The resident just got out of the house and she ran down the street and collapsed. I called EMS to take her to the hospital," said Cressona Fire Chief John Woleschok.

The stress of seeing his home in ruins and his wife in a hospital was just too much for Robert Reigel. He needed medical attention too.

"When something like this happens to a firefighter it's not only personal to us it's personal to the community because that's why we're here, to serve our community. Even through it was a firefighter, good friend, it's hard. It hits home," the chief added.

Firefighters said the blaze was so intense it damaged a house next door.

"I don't know. I just resided my house and I am going to have to do it all over again," said neighbor Roger Hubert.

Making the tragedy even worse is the fact that the Reigel home is part of the family homestead.

"It makes me sick! It's on fire, oh!" said family relative Hilda Offutt as she watched the home burn.

Investigators are looking for what started the fire and turned the lives of the Reigel family upside down.


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