WRIGHT TWP. —Cheryl James first suspected something was wrong when she heard “crackling” toward the back of her house on Monday afternoon.
“I went to look and my neighbor was knocking on the door,” a visibly shaken James said later in recounting how she discovered her home of 15 years was on fire.
She was able to round up her three dogs and escape before the flames gutted the small, two-story, wood-frame home at 326 Church Road. Fire officials had not determined a cause on Monday. No one was injured.
James and her husband, Warren, who own the house, also have a pet pig that lives in an outside pen.
Warren James was not at home at the time the fire started at about 2:30 p.m. He was working repairing computers, his wife said.
Cheryl James said the fire started in the back bedroom on the first floor. She said the home is insured.
Neighbor Deborah Briggs said Cheryl James has a cleaning business.
Capt. John Davies of the Wright Township Fire Department said the cause was unknown. He would not speculate on the cause. “The fire is under investigation at this time,” Davies said.
Fire units from Wright, Dennison, Fairview, Hazle and Butler townships and White Haven responded to the 2:38 p.m. alarm, Davies said. Mountain Top Ambulance and the Medic 9 paramedic unit from Hanover Township also responded.
The back of the house on the wooded lot appeared to have sustained the most damage, though the inside of the rest of the home appeared blackened from the flames.
The owners planned to stay in a hotel. Warren James told his neighbors to keep an eye on his property.
Briggs, who lives across the road from Cheryl and Warren James, is caring for the couple’s dogs. She estimated the fire-damaged house is about 80 years old.