Fire ruins Frankstown Twp. home

Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Multiple fire companies assisted the Geeseytown Fire Company battle a house fire late Monday afternoon. Seven of the homeowners’ dogs died in the fire.

FRANKSTOWN — Three people were displaced and seven dogs were killed early Monday evening when fire destroyed a modular home in Frankstown Township.

Firefighters from numerous local companies responded about 5 p.m. to the home at the end of Pokey Drive, a dead-end dirt road, said Denny Walls, Geeseytown Volunteer Fire Company’s chief.

“There was smoke coming out from all sides and open flame on the back porch,” Walls said.

About an hour later, white smoke continued to roll from the home’s roof, and bright orange flames occasionally licked toward the sky. Firefighters carried hoses and other equipment through a soggy yard to fight the flames.

Bill Criste of Cresson said he was traveling past the home when he noticed the smoke. He pulled over and honked his car horn loudly to alert any of the home’s residents who may have been inside before calling 911, he said.

“You could see it from miles away up the road,” Criste said.

Once on scene, firefighters quickly got to work battling the blaze that continued to burn into the evening, Walls said.

While firefighters battled flames, Gina Lynn was visibly distraught. Lynn said she lived at the home with her husband, Ryan Lynn, and adult son, Zachary Merritts, as well as 10 dogs.

Lynn and her family members were not at the home when the fire started, but, unfortunately, the dogs were inside, she said. All but three of the dogs were killed, Lynn said, revealing many of them were puppies.

“Terrible” was the only word Lynn used to describe how she felt when she saw her home burning with the dogs still inside.

For Lynn, Monday’s fire was the second recent tragedy. Her mother’s funeral was held the day before.

“We were cleaning my mother’s house out,” she said. “That’s why we weren’t home.”

Lynn said she asked firefighters to retrieve her mother’s ashes from the burning home. With relief, Lynn said she was happy firefighters were able to fulfill that request. However, the fire left the Lynns homeless.

“I have no idea where we are going to stay,” she said.

A group of friends and family offered Lynn hugs and consolation. No humans were injured by the fire, Walls said.

Because of the fire’s rural location, firefighters had to truck in water from natural sources, Walls said. They stored the water in a portable retention pond, before pumping it through hoses and into firefighting vehicles.

“There are no hydrants out here,” Walls said.

The building, which was heavily damaged by smoke and heat, is likely a total loss, Walls said.

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