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Coroner: Couple dead in Tioga Street fire in York

Written by Ted Czeck/York Daily Record | Sep 14, 2015 1:31 AM
York_fire.jpg

Firefighters battle a blaze at a home on Tioga Street in York. (Submitted)

(York) --  A York couple died in a fire early Sunday afternoon as the woman tried to pull her ailing husband to safety.

The York County Coroner's Office said Anthony Zorbaugh, 67 and his wife, Connie Zorbaugh, 64, died in their home in the 700 block of Tioga Street.

"They just made it to the kitchen," said Fire Chief David Michaels. "They were overcome by smoke.

"The gentleman had a previous heart condition and a stroke," Michaels added.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 12:15 p.m., where they found flames shooting out of the front of the small brick house, Michaels said.

"We were able to make entry and found two victims," Michaels said. "The victims were pulled from the home, resuscitation was started but (we were) unable to so anything at that point."

Michaels said the fire began inside the home and was not suspicious.

"The fire did start in the first floor, front room," he said. "There's nothing criminal about it."

Firefighters covered the bodies with a red tarp on the north side of the house, just outside of a small fenced-in area.

Neighbor Kathy Bundy, 49, said firefighters did all they could to save the victims' lives.

"I was here when they pulled them out," Bundy said. "They brought her out first. They pulled her out on a blanket. They started CPR. They weren't getting any response. It was definitely obvious there was no life there."

Bundy said Connie Zorbaugh would decorate the couple's home and yard for Valentine's Day and Halloween. Remnants of the care shown to the property could still be seen -- a sign that read, "Connie and Tony," a decorative well and bridge, and a small bench built for two.

"They were good people; he was elderly, she took care of him," she said.

Trying to make sense of the tragedy, Bundy turned to her faith.

"They went together, that's what I thank God for, because he wouldn't have made it without her and she would have been devastated without him," she said. "I guess God made it that way."

As word of what happened spread, more neighbors gathered at the scene.

Bill Fritz, 51, another neighbor, said he knew the couple, but not on a personal level, just to say "hi" to them.

"We would just wave at each other," he said.

Fritz also mentioned Connie's dedication and creativity during the holidays.

"They had a nice display for the kids to look at," for Christmas and Halloween, he said.

Fritz said he walked to the fire because his niece and her family live very close by and so he was concerned for them.

"You never think it's going to hit so close to home," he said.

Michael Leisenring, 31, of York, said he heard of the fire on the scanner and rode his bicycle to the scene.

"I wanted to see if anybody made it out, but I heard they didn't," he said. "I feel sorry for the people."

At about 1:40 p.m., York County Deputy Coroner Terry Meyers arrived on scene, picking up a camera from his bag and stepping inside the house's front door.

After 2 p.m., a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal began taking photos at the scene and a few minutes later, two York City Police detectives arrived and spoke with Michaels.

The York City Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Fire Marshal are investigating.

Cause and manner of death are pending further testing, the coroner confirmed. Additional details could be released Monday.


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF.

Published in News, York

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