Community rallies around Pittston fire family

By Patrick Kernan - pkernan@timesleader.com - By Aimee Dilger - adilger@timesleader.com
Pittston resident Maria Chacko sits on a neighbor’s porch, talking with a state trooper and Pittston Fire Chief James Rooney Monday morning, Chacko and her three children, ages 16, 14 and 9, were displaced after a fire Sunday at their Panama Street home. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
State police investigators are seen Monday at the scene of Sunday’s house fire on Panama Street in Pittston. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Maria Chacko’s home on Panama Street in Pittston was destroyed in a fire on Sunday. The cause of the blaze was under investigation on Monday. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Ness Marie, of Luna’s Pizza in Pittston, is planning a fundraiser to help the Chacko family recover after a house fire Sunday. - - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

PITTSTON — A fire at a Pittston home the afternoon of March 4 left a family of four in temporary lodging, and a community rallying to provide support.

Maria Chacko lives at 156 Panama St. with her three children, ages 16, 14 and 9. Family members were at home when they smelled a burning rubber odor and called the fire department, Chacko said. Everyone escaped unharmed.

Chacko told the Times Leader police said they suspect the blaze may have been electrical in nature.

Pennsylvania State Police, along with Pittston police and fire crews, were on the scene Monday, and said the cause remained under investigation.

American Red Cross spokesman Dave Skutnik confirmed the organization is providing lodging, food and clothing to one adult and three children.

Chacko’s employer, meanwhile, has begun efforts to assist the family.

Luna’s Pizza & Restaurant, 188 N. Main St., Pittston, posted on its Facebook page Sunday evening, asking for donations to help the family, including both money and clothing.

A woman who identified herself only as Ness Marie, a manager for Luna’s, confirmed Chacko is an employee, calling her “a member of the family.”

“They need clothes, household items — everything,” she said. “They have to start from scratch.”

The Facebook post lists the clothing sizes needed by the family: girls’ sizes 8/10, men’s small and men’s XL, boy’s size 16 pants and men’s size 38 pants.

People who wish to donate goods should take them to Luna’s. The restaurant will also accept monetary donations. Checks and money orders may be made out to Luna’s Pizza but must have “Chacko Fire Donation” on the memo line.

Pittston resident Maria Chacko sits on a neighbor’s porch, talking with a state trooper and Pittston Fire Chief James Rooney Monday morning, Chacko and her three children, ages 16, 14 and 9, were displaced after a fire Sunday at their Panama Street home.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL030618FireFolo1.jpgPittston resident Maria Chacko sits on a neighbor’s porch, talking with a state trooper and Pittston Fire Chief James Rooney Monday morning, Chacko and her three children, ages 16, 14 and 9, were displaced after a fire Sunday at their Panama Street home. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

State police investigators are seen Monday at the scene of Sunday’s house fire on Panama Street in Pittston.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL030618FireFolo2.jpgState police investigators are seen Monday at the scene of Sunday’s house fire on Panama Street in Pittston. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Maria Chacko’s home on Panama Street in Pittston was destroyed in a fire on Sunday. The cause of the blaze was under investigation on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL030618FireFolo3.jpgMaria Chacko’s home on Panama Street in Pittston was destroyed in a fire on Sunday. The cause of the blaze was under investigation on Monday. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Ness Marie, of Luna’s Pizza in Pittston, is planning a fundraiser to help the Chacko family recover after a house fire Sunday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL030618FireFolo4.jpgNess Marie, of Luna’s Pizza in Pittston, is planning a fundraiser to help the Chacko family recover after a house fire Sunday. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

By Patrick Kernan

pkernan@timesleader.com

By Aimee Dilger

adilger@timesleader.com

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan