ASHLEY — A Green Street woman who was recovering from cancer treatment died when flames ripped through her home late Saturday.
Kimberly Krakauski, 65, perished inside 10 Green St. after fire broke out around 11:30 p.m.
A state police fire marshal was on the scene early Sunday morning, and Ashley Police Chief John Bell said he expected to have a full report sometime today.
“The smoke had to be pretty bad,” Bell said. “Out of my 16 years (as a first responder), I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Krakauski’s aunt, Rose Krakowski, lives in the home next door.
While the two ladies had been closer when Krakauski was younger, Krakowski said they had drifted a little but still they stayed in touch.
“She was very religious,” Krakowski said of her niece. “She loved her animals, and that’s what I think she was trying to do — save her animals.”
Krakowski was just starting to fall asleep when she heard pounding at the door. Firefighters were rousing her and her family to get out of the house, which had started to catch fire from the flames next door.
Krakauski’s other next door neighbor was first to spot the fire, Krakowski said.
“The neighbors tried to break in and get her out, but they couldn’t,” Krakowski said. “They tried so hard.”
Krakauski mostly kept to herself, Krakowski said, but she was always friendly. Her faith in God was a large part of her life. Krakowski pointed to her niece’s car. On the back, a bumper sticker read “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Chris Imbriani, another neighbor, said firefighters discovered Krakauski’s body on the first floor, along with her dog and two cats.
“She was a nice lady,” Imbriani said. “I believe she was trying to save her animals.”
Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman said Krakauski was pronounced dead at 2:45 a.m. A medical examiner is to complete an autopsy sometime today, he said.
The fire first was reported at 12:08 a.m., a 911 supervisor said. Crews from Nanticoke, Ashley, Hanover Township and Wilkes-Barre Township were called to fight the blaze.
Krakauski’s aunt said she had just beat a second bout of cancer, and was recovering from treatment.
“She was just starting to get her hair back,” Krakowski said.
Times Leader staff members Melanie Mizenko and Joe Sylvester contributed to this report.