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House fire near Jersey Shore displaces two

Firefighter rescues cat from the burning home

Left photo: This home on River Road outside Jersey Shore sustained moderate damage in a fire late Saturday afternoon. Right photo: Chleo, a 15-year-old cat, safely in the arms of Joseph Coffman after a firefighter rescued her from a burning home outside Jersey Shore. PHIL HOLMES/Sun-Gazette

JERSEY SHORE – A Porter Township couple safely escaped their home on River Road, just outside the borough, late Saturday afternoon when flames suddenly broke out on the second floor of their house, according to fire officials.

Within minutes after arriving on the scene, a volunteer firefighter rescued the couple’s 15-year-old cat, Chleo, that was safely brought outside.

Fire at the home of Joseph and Chris Coffman was reported about 5 p.m.

Mrs. Coffman called 911 and yelled “FIre, fire, fire.”

At the time, many firefighters at Citizens Hose Co. were getting ready to attend a fire department social event for the evening, but of course dropped everything when the call came in for a house fire in the 500 block of River Road.

Tiadaghton Valley Regional police officers Tyler Bierly and Brandy Perchinski were the first to arrive on the scene.

“Everyone was already out of the house when we got here,” Perchinski said.

“We entered the house through the rear with extinguishers,” but the two officers were driven out by heavy smoke, Perchinski said.

Once on the scene, firefighters advanced two hoses through the back door and to the second floor, and had most of the fire knocked down in 15 minutes, Independent Hose Co. Fire Chief Mike Bletz told the SG.

Besides the borough’s two fire companies, firefighters from several other communities responded, including Antes Fort, Nippenose Valley, Woodward Township, Lock Haven Woolrich and Castanea.

“They’re all heroes,” Mrs. Coffman said.

She and her husband, both members of Crossroads Church on Route 44, were being comforted by their pastor and his wife, who responded to the fire when they heard about it.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross was providing emergency assistance to the couple.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. Bletz said there appeared to be nothing suspicious about the fire at this time.

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