Fire Claims Home, Lives Are Spared

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By Linda Cicoira
Two veteran firefighters came to the rescue Monday afternoon keeping a tragedy from turning fatal, according to Capt. Art Thornton of the Wachapreague Volunteer Fire Company.
Sean Fate and Paul Parks, both volunteers who live in the town, pulled a man from a pickup truck just after it crashed into a telephone pole and then hit a house trailer.
“They are the heroes,” Thornton said of Fate and Parks. They “pulled the guy from his vehicle just before fire engulfed the house.” The truck tore a hole in the structure and landed inside.
The couple who lives there, Tommy and Mary Sue Colonna, also managed to get out alive. Their home was destroyed and so was the truck, both bursting in-to flames. The Colonnas have found a new home, a house on Brooklyn Street, owned by a family member.
The fire and crash, at the corner of Liberty and Church streets in Wachapreague, was reported to the Eastern Shore 9-1-1 Center at 4:50 p.m. Volunteers from Wachapreague, Tasley, Melfa, Painter, and Onancock responded as well as Accomack Department of Public Safety, state police, ANEC, and rescue vehicles from Melfa and Painter.
Thornton said 22 firefighters were there from Wachapreague with an overall number of about 40. “The driver was hurt and one of the home occupants was transported to the hospital,” he said.
Fate is a longtime volunteer and Parks is a retired Norfolk firefighter who now works at the Wallops Flight Facility Fire Department.
Sgt. Michelle Anaya, of the state police, identified the driver as Thomas Casher, 50, of Wachapreague. “The trailer was a total loss and the truck was burned as well,” said Anaya. Casher was charged with reckless driving. The officer said alcohol was not a factor. The incident continues to be under investigation.
The last of the firefighters were there until nearly 8 p.m.