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Fire Leaves Wilson Mom Homeless on Birthday

Fast moving fire on 23rd Street in Wilson displaces family of six.

Karen Bruch should have been celebrating her birthday Monday.

Instead, she was sitting in her car outside what was left of her home in Wilson, calling doctors and druggists, trying to replace her family's medications.

On Monday morning, fire broke out at the 23rd Street home Bruch shared with her husband, sons and 2-year-old grandson.

The fire moved quickly, apparently killing the family cat and destroying nearly everything they owned.

"My son stood up and said 'Mom, I saw smoke,'" Bruch said. "He said 'There's a flame by the TV. It looks like the TV's on fire.'" 

They tried to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher, she said, but it was no use.

"The whole thing just went. My husband said 'Get out of there, just get out of there,'" Bruch said.

Wilson's firefighters were nearby, responding to an automatic fire alarm at Easton Hospital, said Fire Chief Michael Collins. 

"We could see the smoke from the hospital," he said.

The fire was reported under control around 10:30 a.m., about an hour after it was called in. None of the occupants was injured. Collins said one of his firefighters was taken to the hospital for exhaustion, but simply as a precautionary measure.

"The hospital kicked him loose right away," he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigtion. Firefighters from Easton, West Easton and Williams Township, as well as members of the Suburban EMS squad, all responded to the fire, Collins said.

"Everybody who came out was needed," he said, noting that the magnitude of the fire was apparent as soon as he stepped from his truck. "You could feel the heat from the second floor. We very easily could have lost the building."

The Bruchs had lived at the home -- at the corner of Birch and 23rd streets -- for the last five years. The fire left them with virtually nothing.

The Red Cross provided the family with toiletries, food and lodging, according to a news release.

That lodging will cover the next three nights. After that, Karen Bruch isn't sure what she'll do. The family relies on disability income. Karen, her husband and her son all take medication. They've already paid their rent for the month.

"I lost everything we have," she said, a quaver in her voice. 

If you'd like to help the Bruch family, please call 484-632-4417 or 484-632-4391. Karen Bruch noted that her neighbors had already offered some support, and thanked them for their generosity.

Then she got back to her calls, as workers boarded up what was left of her home.

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