PA Woman Dies in House Fire with ‘Floor to Ceiling Hoarding Conditions’

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann


A woman was pronounced dead after a Saturday morning fire destroyed a Catasauqua home.

The blaze broke out at 5:35 a.m. Saturday at 119 Union St. in the borough. Photos from the scene showed fire on multiple stories and through the roof of the brick home, with heavy smoke rising. More than 100 firefighters battled the fast-spreading flames, officials said.

Deputy Coroner Gabrielle Alcaro at 4:02 p.m. pronounced the woman dead in the house, according to the Lehigh County Coroner’s office. The woman is yet to be identified by authorities; however, there were earlier reports the homeowner was unaccounted for. An autopsy had been scheduled Monday to determine the cause and manner of death.

Catasauqua Fire Chief Rich Hertzog had said crews were unable to get more than a few feet inside due to “floor to ceiling hoarding conditions.” He said firefighters made three different attempts from three different entry points.

Crews went to a defensive strategy just to knock the fire down, as pumpers pushed 3,500 gallons of water per minute onto the blaze from three hydrantsOne firefighter suffered an eye injury and was treated and released, the fire chief said.

Lehigh County property records list the owner-occupant as Cynthia Acerra.

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at


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