Mr. Luptak ran to the back of the burning house to help as flames shot from the building and smoke poured into his face. "I had to kick the back door in and when I reached in and looked down I got knocked down by smoke," he said. "It actually overwhelmed me. It knocked me to my knees. It was that strong." He risked his life not once, but twice first reaching seven-year-old Trista Bruch and her mother, Brenda. "I had a little flashlight. I saw the one leg. I was like yanked her out and then I'm yelling Brenda, Brenda. You know, I crawled back in and grabbed. All I felt was the leg and I just literally, physically grabbed her and pulled her out."
The ambulance captain arrived on the scene within three minutes of the fire call. He found the mother and her young daughter already pulled out of the home lying on the snow covered ground. "We were doing CPR on both of them. They were both in respiratory arrest," said Jefferson EMS Station 29 Captain Gerald Dennis. He says seeing the smallest of the three fire victims is something that he'll never get over. "Whenever you're dealing with a little child and you have to do CPR on anyone but especially with children it's a lot worse."
Update: Lehigh County Coroner's Office reports the age of Trista Bruch, the Jefferson Township child who died Thursday afternoon following an early morning fire was 7-years-old and not 5 as previously reported. Her mother, Brenda, remained in critical condition Thursday evening while the little girl's teenage brother, Brandon, remained in satisfactory condition.
The husband and father of the victims was at work at the time of the fire. A state police fire marshal was already on the scene Thursday morning and was continuing the investigation to determine a cause but ruled the fire accidental.