Woman killed in predawn home blaze in Berks [update]

Jan. 25—A woman was killed in a predawn Wednesday home fire in Alsace Township that sent another resident to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, state police said.

Crews were dispatched at 4:40 a.m. for the blaze at 124 Magnolia Lane off Antietam Road, less than a mile from the decommissioned Alsace Manor Fire Company. A 911 caller reported a woman was trapped in the ranch-style home.

Troopers didn't say who initially reported the fire.

The first crews to arrive found heavy fire, according to state police. Firefighters made entry and found the woman dead. She was later pronounced dead at the scene by a Berks County deputy coroner. Authorities withheld her name.

Another resident, Eric Lantz, 50, suffered smoke inhalation. He was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital, near Allentown. Information on his medical condition was unavailable.

A tanker task force was activated among area fire companies to shuttle water to the scene. One of the filling stations was a hydrant near Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center near the Spring Valley Road exit of Route 12.

Crews from the Blandon, Laureldale, Mount Penn, Walnnuttown and Fleetwood fire companies responded along with those from Lower Alsace, Oley, Ruscombmanor, Exeter and Muhlenberg townships.

Fire police directed traffic away from Antietam Road between Pricetown and Mexico roads through the rest of the morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Troop L fire marshal unit.

It was the second fatal home fire in four days in Berks.

A predawn fire Saturday in Reading claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl who was trapped on the third floor of a single-family Millmont residence. The fire left another family member, a 63-year-old man, fighting for his life in the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital, officials said.