Hepburnville woman safely escapes burning home

A woman was left homeless late Tuesday night when fire extensively damaged her home on Old Route 15 in Hepburnville.

Nikki Lynstrom said she was alerted to the fire after she was awakened by a working smoke alarm about 9:40 p.m.

It appeared the fire began around a pellet stove pipe outside the home, but quickly spread to the structure itself, according to Hepburn Township fire officials.

“The entire area (around the house) was covered with smoke. There was so much smoke you could hardly see,” said Old Lycoming Township Patrolman Michael Engel, the first emergency responder to reach the scene.

Lynstrom was out back dousing the fire with a garden hose when Engel arrived.

At first it was believed the fire was contained, but when Lynstrom went back into the house to get some of her cats, “flames were coming out from around the electrical receptacles in the wall,” Engel said.

The officer ordered the woman to get out while he tried to “spray water” on the fire, but soon the power went out and “we lost all water pressure” he said.

“After that, there wasn’t much else we could do but wait for the fire department,” Engel said.

Several volunteer fire companies responded to the two-alarm fire, including Hepburn Township, Old Lycoming Township, Trout Run, DuBoistown, Loyalsock Township and Nisbet.

The woman had seven cats. Two were safe, being held in a car, but the whereabouts of the others were unknown.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting Lynstrom.


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