A 26-year-old law clerk of a Cambria County judge died Tuesday in a house fire in Ebensburg that injured his fiancee.
Francis Joseph Goulart III and Katherine Brasington, 24, were home when fire broke out at 2:10 a.m. in an apartment kitchen at 200 Tanner St.
Brasington escaped but Goulart was trapped in the kitchen, fire officials said.
“We don’t know why he didn’t follow her out,” Dauntless fire Chief Jeff Evans said. Goulart may have tried battling the fire or may have been overcome by smoke, Evans said.
“No one really knows for sure why he didn’t get out,” he said.
Goulart was found in the kitchen and was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:22 a.m., county Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said.
An autopsy showed Goulart died of smoke inhalation, he said.
Brasington suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.
Her condition was unavailable.
Minutes after the fire broke out, an Ebensburg police officer arrived and attempted to rescue Goulart, but was driven back by intense heat and heavy smoke.
Borough police and a state police fire marshal from the Indiana barracks are investigating the cause. Kwiatkowski said that the preliminary cause appears to have been electrical in nature.
About 40 firefighters from Dauntless, Nanty Glo and Revloc were able to contain the fire to the kitchen area, Evans said.
Neighbors were roused by the sirens and flashing lights.
“They were in the process of putting it out when I came out,” said David Seese, who lives two doors down.
Seese said he didn’t know the couple who lived there. News of the fatality came as a shock.
“It’s tragic, a young couple like that,” he said.
Both Goulart and Brasington are from York.
Goulart had lived in Ebensburg since earlier this year. He was named law clerk for Judge Linda Fleming in February.
News of Goulart’s death stunned courthouse workers.
Fleming described her law clerk as “intelligent, hardworking, diligent.”
“He was really a nice guy and good at what he did,” Fleming said. “He also was a wonderful writer.”
Goulart is a 2011 graduate of Penn State Dickinson Law School and formerly had been a law clerk/intern for Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn-Jubelirer.
No damage estimate was available.
Ebensburg Area Ambulance also was at the scene.
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