Thursday, July 6, 2017

GONE FOR THE LOVE OF HER PETS: 39-year-old Tabetha Oakes Rutecki died after she went back inside the burning home to try to rescue two pets in Bensalem, PA

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 04:25PM
BENSALEM, Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities have identified the woman who died Wednesday morning trying to save two pets from a house fire in Bensalem.

39-year-old Tabetha Oakes Rutecki was one of three people living in the home in the 2700 block of June Avenue.  Her Facebook profile says the following about her.

  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist at Mobile X USA
  • Cashier at Team Toyota of Langhorne
  • Former Billing and coding at King of Prussia Pharmacy

The flames broke out at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Chopper 6 HD was overhead and the Action Cam on the ground as smoke poured from the home.

Action News is told Rutecki, her husband and her mother-in-law all made it out safely.

Neighbors say they were told Rutecki then went back inside the burning home to try to rescue two pets.

"We heard that she was out of the house, and then she went back in to get the dog and the cat," Paul Chiconski told Action News.

Rutecki became trapped and was not able to get back out.

Firefighters found her in the kitchen. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two other occupants of the home were taken to Jefferson-Aria Health's Torresdale facility for treatment.

Their conditions were not immediately known.

Officials also say a firefighter suffered a minor injury at the scene.

Fire investigators are working to determine what sparked the fire.

Officials say this case serves as a cautionary tale - a tragic reminder that you should never enter or re-enter a burning building.

"We do understand it," said Battalion Chief Rob Sponheimer of the Bensalem Township Fire Department. "But you're more important. We want to keep you outside. Let the first responders know, when they get there, where that stuff was, and we'll do the best we can to help you get that stuff out. We just don't want people going back inside. Once you're out, stay out. That's very important."

One dog perished in the fire. Another dog and a cat escaped safely.