SCRANTON -- Volunteers in Scranton sprucing up a property for a social service agency got a call that a group home that agency owns caught fire, so they were called into action in more ways than one.
The Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania manages the group home in Scranton that caught fire on Thursday, but this was also the United Way Day of Caring.
Volunteers were busy at Arc locations across the area when a call came in that an Arc home was on fire.
Firefighters surrounded the home on Court Street in Scranton where flames and smoke charred the garage and forced out three people.
The people in United Way T-shirts at the scene were volunteers for the annual Day of Caring.
It turns out that the fire broke out at a home managed by an agency those volunteers were helping.
"We're in the middle of our United Way Day of Caring, which is an otherwise happy day doing volunteer work at all our different places, and got a call from one of my staff that the outside of the house was engulfed in flames," said Arc of NEPA residential & adult day services director Patrick Quinn.
Quinn says he and several Day of Caring volunteers rushed to Court Street when he got the call that the group home managed by the Arc was on fire.
"It's never happened to us before, but you know, your heart jumps into your throat, and the first thing you've got to know, is everybody out of the house?"
The house is home to four residents. Two of them and a staff member were there when the fire started shortly after noon.
People from the Arc say not only did an off-duty officer come in and help these people, so did a neighbor and a passerby, who called it in.
Jade Pasco was walking by when she saw the fire and dialed 911.
"I was shook up pretty bad because I was worried because I got told the lady that lived in there was crippled and stuff, so it had me worried," Pasco said.
"It's your worst fear. We live to give our residents an ordinary life on an ordinary street and unfortunately, this is part or ordinary life," said Quinn.
The people who live in that group home won't be able to return for some time.
The Arc will find temporary places for them.
Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.