Montgomery home destroyed, three dogs die in fire | News, Sports, Jobs


RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

MONTGOMERY – With a wall of flames blocking the front door, Eli Hessler and his 14-year-old daughter safely fled their burning home at Broad and First streets when a massive fire broke out about 2 pm Thursday.

Hessler’s wife, Steph, and the couple’s two other children were not home at the time.

Hessler and his family were heartbroken that their three dogs perished in the multiple-alarm blaze that sent up columns of smoke that could be seen six miles away.

“I went back in to try to get the dogs out, but they would not come out, and I couldn’t stay in there,” Hessler said.

His daughter, who name was not provided, was watching television on the first floor and happened to look out when she saw the entire front porch engulfed.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

She ran upstairs to get her father, who was asleep. He works third shift.

A group of borough firefighters were at the other end toen getting their carnival grounds ready for another night of festivities “when a borough official reported to us that there was a house fire on Broad Street. We responded right away,” firefighter and borough fire company spokesman Jesse Walker said.

“We could see heavy black smoke, and when we pulled up, the entire house was engulfed in flames,” he said.

Fire Chied Brad Feaster soon arrived and directed fire operations.

Because the water pressure system is poor in the community, firefighters could not get enough water from borough hydrants, so additional fire department tankers were dispatched to the scene and used, Feaster said.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Former borough fire chief Neal Winder, who lives in Clarkstown, said he could see thick black smoke from his house.

Firefighters made no attempt to go inside, but fought the blaze from the exterior because it was just too dangerous and the house was already too far gone.

Within 20 minutes, the entire front porch and its side collapsed into burning rubble.

Hessler said his family would likely stay with relatives. Fire officials said the family was remodeling the home.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent A Montgomery firefighter struggles with low water pressure as fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent A Montgomery firefighter advances a hose line as fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Fire quickly destroyed a home at 104 First St. in Montgomery on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

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