Family Loses Home, Dogs in Overnight Fire

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SHICKSHINNY -- A family in Luzerne County cannot stay in their home tonight. An overnight fire destroyed their double block house in Shickshinny.

It was just after midnight when flames and smoke engulfed this house on West Butler Street in Shickshinny. A fire that had Lois Smith and her husband rushing to help their son and his wife and baby.

"Smoke pouring out. It was awful. I was just crying all the time," said Lois Smith, of Conyngham Township.

Kimberly and Derek Smith lived here with their one-year-old son. Kimberly grew up in this house. Her mother lives on the other side of the double block, but wasn't home when the fire started.

Kimberly, her husband, and son got out okay, but the family's dogs died in the fire.

"I was pretty much in shock I think. I still am. When I went in the house, the little of it to see what was left. Everything was gone," said Kimberly Smith, of Shickshinny.

Fire officials say the double-block home is total loss. The chief believes the fire started in the back of the house in the kitchen area on the side of the home where Kimberly's mother lives. The chief says it was a stubborn fire that didn't want to go out and caused the second story to collapse.

"The mop up went on forever and ever, just getting in all those nooks and crannies," said Shickshinny Fire Chief Kevin Morris.

Even twelve hours after the fire started, the house is still smoking and take a look at this pile of rubble right next to it. A bathtub burnt to the crisp along with a number of other unsalvageable items.

"It's just very emotional. Just don't know what to do, don't know where to start," said Kimberly Smith.   The chief says the fire took a long time to put out because the roof was metal. The family does have insurance and is being helped by the Red Cross for a few nights. Then they'll be staying with their parents. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.