The small borough of Blossburg, Pennsylvania is mourning after a fire Sunday claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl. Our Bill Mich spoke with neighbors and friends who are shocked by the loss for the tight knit community.
BLOSSBURG, Pa. --"An inferno. It was. It was hell."
That was the account of neighbor Maggi Dorn as she watched the duplex home at 144 Main Street in Blossburg go up in flames Sunday morning. Authorities are still searching for the cause to the fire that killed an 11-year-old girl.
"She was a great girl. It's just a terrible tragedy," said neighbor Julie Nybeck.
Four families are now homeless. The fire destroyed the duplex home that houses two of them, but then quickly spread to the houses on each side. The 11-year-old girl was the only person lost in the fire. Her brother and sister, who climbed out of a second story window, were able to escape the burning house.
"She had to jump or she was going to get hurt. She was getting burned. She just had to come. And finally she kept telling me, 'catch me. Please catch me. You have to catch me. Promise you'll catch me.' So I caught her," said Nybeck.
That girl was transported to Williamsport General Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The Blossburg fire chief says the Red Cross is currently assisting the families who were forced out of their homes. And neighbors are still reeling from the whole ordeal.
"We've all known each other for 20 years. 20 or more years. I've only been here 20 years. But it is such a small, tight knit community, it is a loss for everybody," said Dorn.
And while trying to emotionally recover, neighbors also have the tough task of cleaning up and making repairs. At least two homes are a loss with others sustaining water and smoke damage, as well as pieces of siding melting from the extreme heat.
Authorities have yet to release the names of those involved.
Neighbors say a pig roast fundraiser will be held on July 14th to benefit all of the families who lost their home at the "Bear A. Bar and Grill." Monetary donations to the families can also be made at the First Citizens National Bank in Blossburg.