STEVENSVILLE — Imagine driving to work and in your rear view mirror, you spot flames coming from your favorite lunch spot. What do you do?
That’s what happened to a group of Southwestern Energy employees around 4:30 a.m. Thursday in Bradford County.
They decided to take action when they saw Dotti Lou Meat Shop in Stevensville filled with flames.
The family-owned butcher shop on Route 706 has been in business since 1978.
No one was hurt in the fire, but the building is now destroyed.
“I’m just devastated. I mean, that was our whole life,” said Jerilynn Scavazzo.
Scavazzo and her husband Vince own Dotti Lou Meats.
The owners said it could have been a lot worse. In one trailer, there were 18 propane tanks. The building also ran on natural gas. That’s why when four gas company workers just happened to be driving by and saw the flames, they got out and decided to help.
“You see somebody in need and you just go ahead and help them,” said Randy Kochanowski, the first gas employee to run into the building.
Kochanowski and three other employees from Southwestern Energy helped the owner grab some things inside just minutes before the roof collapsed.
“It says a lot about a person. I don’t know if I would ever have the guts to do that, but I give them a lot of credit for doing that,” said Brani Bytheway, a Dotti Lou employee.
The fire marshal determined the blaze was an electric fire which started in the ceiling.
“Unfortunately, you know, there was nothing that could be done to save it,” said Scavazzo.
But, one of the gas employees was able to save something irreplaceable to the owners and they’re very grateful.
“What a good feeling. Because of that we still have our recipes, so we’re looking forward to a rebuild,” said Scavazzo.
Because those recipes were saved, the owner said it was a sign to reopen the business. The man who saved the recipes was surprised.
“Oh wow, perfect,” Kochanowski said. “I didn’t even know that. Like I said, we just grabbed a big book of stuff. ”
Dotti Lou owners are waiting to hear from their insurance company to determine when they can rebuild.
“Everyone is reaching out to us now. I just want everyone to know we’re going to come back. We’re going to be there for them down the road,” Scavazzo said.
As for the Southwestern Energy workers, after helping out, they went to work a 12-hour shift.