LILLY - A Railroad Street home was gutted, but no one was injured in a Tuesday afternoon fire that remains under investigation, emergency responders said.
Lilly Fire Company Chief Bob Crum said initial responders were dispatched to the scene around 1 p.m. in a search-and-rescue mode, believing someone was still trapped inside, but they quickly learned the missing occupant was safe at a neighbor's home.
A lab mix escaped the flames by leaping through a window screen, neighbor Heather Crynock said.
Mirror photo by David Hurst
Heather Crynock of Lilly holds onto a black lab mix that escaped a fire by jumping through a large-screened window to avoid flames.
"I was shocked," said Crynock, 31, who added that she was outside when she noticed smoke and flames at the Route 53 home.
"It burned up fast," she said, still holding the dog. "I'm just glad he was safe and no one was apparently hurt."
Carol Litzinger, 64, another neighbor, heard fire whistles blowing and turned on her scanner to find out the blaze's location. Then she smelled smoke.
"I went outside, and there it was," she said while on her property, about 15 yards from the fire. "I was worried the trees between us might catch and fall on my house."
Dozens of firefighters from across the Mainline area, including Lilly, Portage, Gallitzin and Cresson fought the fire for nearly an hour. They arrived to find the 1-story home fully involved, Crum said, noting Nanty Glo, Ashville and Ebensburg also responded.
The home was occupied by two tenants. The owner apparently lived out of state and had not yet been contacted, Crum added.
He said a state police fire marshal was contacted and was expected to be on scene early today to investigate.