Neighbors Shaken By Christmas Week Tragedy

DANVILLE — Longtime neighbors took one look at the charred, empty shell of the home on Cross Street in Danville and found it hard to summon holiday spirit.

“We were, like, paralyzed.  It is so hard to think about these poor people,” said Joyce Bielen.

Beilen lives a block away from the home where Eugene Yohn, 88, died in a fire.

“He was just a really sweet man,” Bielen said.

“You wouldn’t meet nicer people,” said neighbor Bill James.

Images of Monday’s fire at the home of a popular couple a home where Gene and Doris Yohn raised two children are still fresh the day after the tragedy.

Bill James called the Yohns neighbors for almost 60 years and even before Gene Yohn retired as a trucker, he’d always be busy in the neighborhood on weekends.

“You’d see him every Sunday dressed up going to church, every Sunday.  That’s just the kind of person he was: a good family man,” James said.

Neighbors feel especially bad for Doris Yohn.  When the fire broke out, she told investigators, she thought her husband was right behind her.  Instead, he was trapped inside.

“It has just got to be devastating.  I just don’t know how you cope.  In fact, I hope she’s OK,” Bielen added.

Doris Yohn will spend the first Christmas in many years without her husband. And while neighbors say the house will likely have to be torn down, they’ll never forget the kind and generous couple who lived at the home on Cross Street.

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