Residents, Pets Driven Out By Flames

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THROOP -- Residents had to run for their lives, and one was forced to jump from a window.  More than a dozen people lost their homes in an early morning fire in Lackawanna County.

Investigators are looking for the cause of that fire in Throop.

Many escaped with just the clothes on their backs.

The first alarm came in just before 3:30 a.m. Monday for the place along the 600 block of Sanderson Street in Throop.

Shelyn Woliski is one of the 14 people who lived there.

"I looked out my window and there was just fire blazing and I said 'Oh, my God, what am I going to do?'  My first instinct was to grab my lizard, grab the lights, knock them off and make sure he's OK.

The lizard is OK.

Logan Dembeski also lives there.  He watched as a fellow resident struggled to escape the burning building.

"Right up there, there was a guy yelling for help at the window, and he jumped out and that was it."

Dembeski says his neighbor survived the jump, and is OK.

Of course, there is never a good time for a fire, but this one was especially dangerous.  Residents tell me the fire broke out while most of the people there were sleeping.

That includes Matthew Beam.

"As you can tell, I couldn't grab anything, so I just ran for my life," Bean said.

The Red Cross says about half of the fire victims are staying with friends or relatives.  It is helping the rest and that includes Ariel Merritt.

"Everything goes through your mind, everything you just lost, all the memories, panic, shock."

And there was panic and shock during those awful early moments.

"I heard a woman screaming, 'Fire, fire!' and I jumped out and put a shirt on and I came out the door and it was already spreading down the side of the house," Steve Thomas recalled.

Firefighters say everyone got out safely.  Two dogs were saved, but a resident says several cats died in the fire.