Abington Journal

This Week in Local History: Two children perished in fire, 911 system activated

1968 — Two children perished in a Glenburn house fire, despite their parents’ and neighbor’s desperate attempts to save them.

According to the article, the parents were asleep in an upstairs bedroom, with the door closed, when they discovered the fire. Their attempts to reach the children, who were asleep downstairs, were futile. The mother ran to the nearest neighbor’s house in her nightgown and bare feet, screaming, “My children are burning. Save my children,” while her husband continued his efforts to reach them.

The article states a neighbor also tried, unsuccessfully, to get to the children by breaking a side window, but his efforts were thwarted when “a sheet of flames and heat shot out and singed (his) eyelashes.”

Clarks Summit firemen later found the children dead of asphyxiation, the 15-month-old in his crib and the 3-year-old in the kitchen with the family dog curled up alongside him.

1978 — The 911 phone system was activated for the first time in Lackawanna County, with three Abington communities gaining access to the emergency number.

“With 911, any Lackawanna County resident in the 587, 586, 282, 676, 563, 562, 457 and Scranton 34 and 961 exchanges will have a ‘hotline’ to the county communications center, saving valuable seconds in reporting an emergency,” read the Journal article. “A caller will also be able to dial 911 from any pay phone in the county without the deposit of a coin.”

The scene inside a Glenburn home the morning after a fire claimed the lives of two young children in 1968.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_ABJ-LH-0124-1968.jpgThe scene inside a Glenburn home the morning after a fire claimed the lives of two young children in 1968. Abington Journal file photos
‘The sticker seen here on the Abington Journal phone will soon be distributed to most residents of the Abingtons,’ read the caption to this photo in 1978. ‘Dial 911 in an emergency – it may save your life.’
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_ABJ-LH-0124-1978.jpg‘The sticker seen here on the Abington Journal phone will soon be distributed to most residents of the Abingtons,’ read the caption to this photo in 1978. ‘Dial 911 in an emergency – it may save your life.’ Abington Journal file photos

Compiled by Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.