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Volunteer firefighter left homeless following blaze

HUGHESVILLE — Volunteer firefighters came together to help one of their own on Wednesday morning when flames broke out early in a mobile home belonging to a member of the Picture Rocks Volunteer Fire Co.

No one was at the property when a neighbor saw smoke pouring from the home of Zach Babb, 152 Boak Ave., just before 7 a.m.

No one was injured, but Babb’s two dogs perished in the fire.

“I heard some noises — pops and bangs — outside. When I came out to see what was happening, smoke was coming out from under the roof. I called 9-1-1,” neighbor Shawn Chudzikiewicz.

“I then saw fire, and it moved through the house. First the whole place was engulfed in smoke and then I saw the flames come up through the windows,” she said.

Concerned about Babb’s two dogs, the woman was about to enter the burning structure in an attempt to rescue them, but she was stopped by a firefighter.

“I love animals,” Chudzikiewicz said.

Smoke was pouring from all sides of the home when firefighters from Hughesville arrived on the scene. Firemen from Picture Rocks, Muncy Township, Muncy Creek Township and Montgomery also responded.

“A fire is always rough when the home belongs to one of your own, but you still have to do your job (and put it out),” Picture Rocks Fire Chief Larry Ryder said at the scene shortly after the blaze had been brought under control.

Babb, who has been a volunteer firefighter in the company for at least 10 years, had already left at work when the fire broke out, Ryder said.

“We’ll work together to find out what Zach needs and go from there,” the chief said.

Hughesville Fire Chief Steve Stiger, who directed operations, said all the firefighters “did a real good job” in getting the fire out.

Trooper Nicholas Loffredo, a state police fire marshal, responded to the scene, but the cause of the fire, which destroyed the mobile home, remained undetermined.

Babb was staying with relatives, fire officials said.

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