Pa. Senate honors Lehigh County firefighters killed in house fire

The two Lehigh County firefighters who died after becoming trapped in a house fire Dec. 7 were recognized Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Senate.

The Senate adopted resolutions honoring fallen New Tripoli firefighters Zachary Paris and Marvin Gruber. They were sponsored by state Sen. Jarrett Coleman, the freshman Republican sworn-in Jan. 3 to a four-year term representing Lehigh and Bucks county communities.

Paris and Gruber died after becoming trapped while responding to the fire Dec. 7 on Clamtown Road in Schuylkill County’s West Penn Township, near Tamaqua. The blaze is being investigated as suspicious. The body of a man who lived there was found on the property with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities have said.

“On that fateful day, Zachary Paris and Marvin Gruber were carrying on the noble tradition of volunteer firefighting, of neighbors helping neighbors,” Coleman said in a statement. “It’s a great loss for the community and an unimaginable tragedy for their families. We honor them today with the pledge that these men will always be remembered as heroes.”

The firefighters were laid to rest following a public service Dec. 17 at Northwestern Lehigh Middle School.

Paris served as assistant fire chief with the New Tripoli Fire Co. and worked as a professional firefighter at Green Valley Fire Station in Frederick County, Maryland. He was 36. He and his wife of 12 years, Elizabeth, had two daughters, Lila and Amelia. He is recognized by Senate Resolution No. 15

Gruber, 59, was a volunteer firefighter with New Tripoli, a role he’d filled in local communities since the late 1980s. He was also the assistant director of public safety for Northampton Community College for the last 22 years. He was the husband to his wife, Karen, for 35 years, the father to Nicholas Gruber and Jordan Lybarger, and the grandfather to Cole, Lucas and McKenzie Gruber. He is recognized by Senate Resolution No. 14

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Kurt Bresswein may be reached at [email protected]

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