2 Pa. Firefighters Are Killed in Suspicious House Fire, Man Found Dead in Woods Nearby

Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, died after responding to the fire

Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Firefighter Marvin Gruber, 59
Photo: Boonton Fire Department/Facebook (2)

Two volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania succumbed to their injuries Wednesday evening after getting trapped inside a burning home in an incident authorities described as being suspicious.

Another man — one of the two residents of the house — was found dead behind the West Penn Township residence, according to a press conference held Thursday.

Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, from Community Fire Company New Tripoli, responded to the blaze on Wednesday around 4 pm, believing someone was trapped inside the home. That information turned out to be false, officials said.

Paris and Gruber fought to extinguish the fast-spreading flames, but got trapped inside the home. More than 100 other firefighters arrived on the scene, some of whom worked to rescue the men, but Paris and Gruber died later at a hospital. Two other firefighters were injured and one remains in intensive care, according to WNEP.

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Another man's body was reportedly found about 100 yards away, in the woods behind the house. He was identified at Christopher Kammerdiener, 35, and had recently moved into the home with his uncle. The Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department wrote on Facebook that Kammerdiener died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

An official on the scene told reporters, "Everyone in the house is being investigated."

It's unclear what started the fire, but officials are currently investigating the incident as suspicious.

"These members made the ultimate sacrifice for their community and country. They are truly heroes," the fire company said in a statement about Paris and Gruber, which was read aloud during Thursday's press conference.

PEOPLE reached out to the West Penn Township police department but did not immediately receive a response.

The investigation continues.

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