CANTON - A family of five is lucky to be alive after an early morning fire consumed their two-story home on Route 414.
Kenneth and Regina Willow, of 9925 Route 414, and their three children were asleep when a smoke alarm and the smell of smoke awoke them just before 1 a.m. Monday morning.
According to Canton Deputy Fire Chief George Jennings, everyone got out all right, but just barely.
"They got out with the clothes on their bodies," he said, adding they had two dogs that were outside of the structure and not injured.
The fast-moving fire started in or near a running clothes dryer, he added.
"It could have been an outlet right behind the dryer, which was on the first floor," he added.
Jennings said when he arrived there were flames shooting out the windows of the first floor.
The frame house was a total loss, he said.
Jennings explained that many older homes are built using what is called bloom construction house, without fire blocks between floors to stop fire from advancing from the first to the second floor and the attic.
"The fire spread very fast," he said.
Willow, who is a member of the fire department, "initially thought he had it out, but then he heard a big boom, which was an aerosol can going off in the laundry room and that pushed the fire a lot better," Jennings said.
Willow tried to put the fire out by throwing a pan of water on it, but "he didn't realize it was already in the walls," Jennings added.
The family of two adults and three children under 16 are staying with family in the area.
About 30 to 40 firefighters from the Canton, Troy, Franklindale, Monroeton, North Towanda and Liberty fire departments responded to the scene, he said.
The house, about seven miles from town, had no nearby water source, so firefighters used tankers and made runs to town to get more water.
"We never ran out of water with all the tankers we had," he said.
No injuries were reported, he added.
The family is being assisted by the Red Cross, and the community and high school are taking donations, he said, adding they already have a tremendous amount of items donated, and the school has a fund drive for the family as well.
"There was insurance on the house and the contents, so that will help," he said.