Flames broke out early Sunday evening as Joe and his wife, Joanne, were home. "It started on the back porch and what accelerated it we don't know. We didn't have any accelerants there," said Mr. Castellino. He used a fire extinguisher at first but it was no match for the inferno. "There was like a blow back. That's how I got singed and burned a little and we ran out the front of the house."
Outside of that house now are the burned shells of the couple's cars. The cars the Castellinos lost in the fire were relatively new. They were vehicles that replaced the couple's other ones lost in the flood of 2011. Castellino, who is an attorney, wondered if the fire was no accident. "I can't think of anybody who would want to do me that kind of harm. I mean being a lawyer you do have a certain amount of enemies."
Tom Evansew of West Pittston showed up Monday outside the Castellinos home to offer his friends some compassion during a difficult time. "They're probably in shock right now but they're doing okay," he said.
Next door, Gary Slusser's family home has some fire damage. He wasn't home when the fire happened but his wife, Sheri, and two young daughters were. "I ran out. I didn't have shoes, I didn't have a coat. You're just not prepared. It's scary," said Mrs. Slusser. Her family was unharmed but at first she wasn't sure about the Castellinos. "I did eventually meet up with the neighbors and I knew everybody was safe and that's, you know, I'm thankful for that. It could have been a lot worse."
A firefighter rescued the Castellinos' crippled dog from the fire but their two cats died. The state police fire marshal heading the investigation had not ruled on the cause of the fire by early Monday evening.