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Fire leaves 2 displaced

By Staff | Sep 30, 2014

This clothes dryer caught on fire and left a mother and daughter temporarily homeless.

MONTGOMERY – A mother and her college-student daughter were left temporarily homeless on Sept. 15 when a fire erupted in their first-floor bathroom-laundry room on Melvina Street, according to borough Fire Chief Brad Harding.

While the cause of the 5:50 a.m. fire at Laurie Heintzelman’s home at 71 Melvina St. remained under investigation, it appeared that it may have originated from a clothes dryer in the bathroom.

“I turned on the dryer, but turned it off 10 minutes later because it was making a noise,” Heintzelman said during a brief interview outside her home several hours after the fire.

A few minutes later, Heintzelman said, she smelled smoke. The next thing she knew, the dryer was on fire.

“When I opened the dryer, I saw flames,” she added.

She quickly called 911 and safely escaped the house with her two dogs and several cats. Her daughter, Colby, a freshman at Lock Haven University, was at school at the time of the fire.

“Flames were blowing out the bathroom window when firefighters arrived on the scene,” Harding said.

In addition to the borough, firefighters from Clinton Township, Washington Township, South Williamsport, Montoursville and Warrior Run Area responded to the scene. However, the bulk of the fire was knocked down in a matter of minutes, Harding said.

“The fire was starting to travel to the second floor, but we were able to stop it,” Harding said. He estimated fire damage to be about $30,000.

The local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was providing emergency shelter for the woman’s pets.

Heintzelman said one of her cats was still missing on Monday afternoon. She said she has fire insurance on her property. She already had a professional cleaning company at the scene.

Harding said there appeared to be nothing suspicious about the fire. The local chapter of the American Red Cross is providing emergency assistance for Heintzelman, who was planning to stay with friends until she can get back into the house.

Harding said the woman could be back in her home by the end of the month or even sooner.