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Quick Thinking Mt. Ephraim Neighbors Work Together to Save Burning Home

Four Mt. Ephraim neighbors were honored for their quick thinking and involvement when a fire suddenly erupted on a porch in a nearby house. The four were honored and also credited for saving their neighbor’s home.

Mt. Ephraim neighbors, Thomas Crehan, Lavinia Wright, Joann Lynch, and Mark Meeser, were all credited with saving a burning home that had suddenly caught fire last month. All four jumped into action and worked together to help.

Crehan, Wright, Lynch, and Meeser were all honored at the May 4, 2017 Mt. Ephraim Commissioners’ meeting.

Thomas Crehan was present and Jo Ann Wright was there on behalf of her daughter, Lavinia. Lynch and Meeser were unable to attend.

On April 17, a fire erupted on the front porch of the Krause residence on Gaskill Avenue. Thomas Crehan happened to be working in his yard when the fire started. Hearing screams, Crehan used his garden hose to work to control the fire until emergency personnel arrived.

Lavinia Wright called 911.

Mt. Ephraim Police Chief Brian Conte said that the four residents immediately went into action. “Tom had done a phenomenal job trying to suppress the fire and prevented its extension, which I think he did a phenomenal job doing. Everyone else [Lavinia Wright, Joann Lynch, and Mark Meeser] had a part in helping out and did a great job.”

Mayor Joseph Wolk read from the Commendation of Service Proclamation that was presented to Crehan. “When emergency responders arrived at the fire, they found a neighbor, Thomas Crehan, already working to control the fire with a garden hose. Because of Tom’s quick action, the fire was controlled and was prevented from spreading to the interior of the home. Both the police chief and the fire chief had reported that because of Tom’s quick action, the home was saved and the residents were able to remain in their home.”

Wolk continued: “The Borough commends Thomas Crehan for his quick thinking and action, which resulted in the saving of his neighbor’s home. In these times when people often don’t want to get involved, Thomas Crehan did get involved and his actions resulted in the saving of the home and we are proud to call him a citizen of Mt. Ephraim.”

The mayor also honored Lavinia Wright, Joann Lynch, and Mark Meeser. “When emergency responders arrived on scene, they found several neighbors assisting and had gotten involved as soon as they saw the fire. Because of the quick action of the neighbors, the home was able to be saved.”

Mt. Ephraim Fire Chief Brian Gilmore stated that fires can double in size every 30 seconds. The neighbors’ quick thinking and response in calling 911 activated the emergency service to get to the fire quickly. “Tom was luckily working in his front yard. When he heard the screams, he took it upon himself to help,” he said.

Gilmore added that with the assistance of all four of those individuals: “Everything just fell right into place and the house was able to be saved.”

He continued: “The front window had already started to break and the fire started to roll across the front porch. It was only seconds away from getting inside the house and causing extensive damage. I personally commend you for your quick actions and fast response and stepping up and doing something right. That is the good part about living in a small town in Mt. Ephraim — we always like to help our neighbors.”

Commissioner Andrew Gilmore presented Thomas Crehan with an honorary fire chief hat while reserving “the lovely pink one” for Jo Ann to give to her daughter, Lavinia.

Crehan responded: “It’s a global village and I would’ve helped anyone. I was glad to help.”

Jo Ann Wright said: “Thirty-one years ago, my daughter and I lived in Philadelphia. [She] was two years old at the time. Kitsey [Krause] called me and told me there was the cutest little house around the corner and she could just see me and my daughter in that house. So, I bought that house and I’ve been living there for 31 years most happily in Mt. Ephraim. She found a house for us and we were able to save her house for her.”

Kitsey Krause commented: “I was at the ceremony because it was our house that was on fire. I wanted to say something to these wonderful people, but I still get very emotional when I think of what could have happened. My husband and I and our entire family will always be eternally grateful to everyone involved in saving our house; our neighbors, the police and fire department. Bless you all.”

*Lavinia Jones Wright contacted SJO with the following clarification:

“My mother, Jo Ann Wright, was also there. After I spotted the fire, she actually ran to each neighbor’s house, knocked on their doors, and asked for their assistance in saving the house while I was on the phone with 9-1-1. She also bravely ran up onto the burning porch to bang on the Krause’s door to get them out of the house to safety in case they were inside. She was so brave and quick-acting, I would be devastated if her contribution went unnoticed. As she said in the article, the Krauses are the reason we live in Mt. Ephraim at all, and it meant so much to us to be able to save their house that day.”

Photo Gallery by SJO:

*(Post updated on May 7, 2017 at 10:15 a.m. to include Lavinia’s clarification.)