EAST FREEDOM - A Tuesday afternoon blaze gutted a Freedom Township home, sending one resident to the hospital as a neighbor braved flames to rescue his pet dog.
Firefighters subdued the flames by 3:30 p.m.; by then, Douglas Butler's white-and-brown trailer home was blown open, debris scattered outside its windows and smoke mixing with dark, low-hanging clouds above.
Neighbors said they heard a sudden "boom," and moments later, Butler ran to Diane Mowery's nearby house and told her to call 911, Mowery said.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Firefighters extinguish a mobile home fire along Fleetwood Court in?East Freedom on Tuesday.
An ambulance worker said responders took Butler, who reportedly suffers from asthma, to Altoona Regional for treatment. Witnesses said he was responsive but appeared to be in shock.
"This is how it looked from my porch," neighbor Kim McCarthy said as she displayed a cellphone photo showing a wall of flames rising from the home at 115 Fleetwood Court.
Lee Lang, another neighbor in what residents described as a close-knit trailer park community, said he rushed to Butler's home to rescue his red-nosed pit bull, Angel.
"[I was told] Doug's house is on fire. First thing I said is, 'Where's Angel?'" Lang said. "I've been around that dog too much - that dog loves me."
A relative held Butler's dog on a leash as knots of locals gathered to watch the fire's aftermath Tuesday. Emergency vehicles with flashing lights lined the trailer park's roads and poured onto the shoulder of Dunnings Highway.
Neighbors said the home's other resident, Rose Beck, was at work when the blaze started.
Rhonda Lamborn of Hollidaysburg, who identified herself as Beck's sister, said the pair will likely stay with her as they recover from the loss.
Fire officials weren't available to comment on the blaze's cause Tuesday afternoon, but neighbors said Butler had been cooking on a stove when they heard the explosion.
"You're just trying to cook dinner, and the next thing you know you lose your home," McCarthy said.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.