WEST PENN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A man found dead behind a burning home in Schuylkill County died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a coroner.
The man was discovered as firefighters battled the blaze on the 1100 block of Clamtown Road in West Penn Township around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Pennsylvania State Police say Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, from Community Fire Company New Tripoli in Lehigh County, died after becoming trapped inside.
Gruber joined the New Tripoli Fire Company in Lynn Township in 2020. He worked at Northampton Community College for 22 years, the last 15 in the Department of Public Safety.
"He died a hero in the line of duty, doing what he did best, helping and protecting others while selflessly serving his community with honor and integrity," said Keith Morris, the school's public safety chief.
Paris joined the fire company in 2010 and served as an assistant fire chief. He worked as a professional firefighter in Frederick County, Maryland. He joined the county's fire department as a recruit in February and had just graduated from the fire academy in September
Paris leaves behind a wife, two daughters, his parents, and a sister. A GoFundMe has been set up to help support his family.
"There are no words to describe the sadness myself and the members of Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services are feeling today," said Fire Chief Tom Coe. "Not only was Zach someone who was living out his dream of becoming a career firefighter, but he was also living out his dream as a family man."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.