DUNCANSVILLE - Nicole Frye was on the telephone when her daughter, Natasha Steele, said she smelled smoke in her Third Avenue home early Wednesday evening.
Steele wanted to check on it, but Frye insisted she get out.
"Get out of the house. Call 911," Frye recalled saying to her daughter.
Firefighters work to put out blaze at area home.
Steele escaped from the home with her daughter and the niece she was baby-sitting before fire gutted the 2-story structure. Steele's boyfriend, Joey Richardson, wasn't home at the time of the fire.
Later, Frye stood shell-shocked across the street as she watched smoke and fire coming out of the upstairs of 1105 Third Ave.
The smoke from the fire, which broke out about 6:45 p.m., could be seen from the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home on Plank Road.
Mirror photos by Mark Leberfinger
Firefighters work to douse flames that broke out early Wednesday evening at 1105 Third Ave., Duncansville. Three people were left homeless as a result of the fire that gutted the residence.
Firefighters put out flames on the second floor of the home at 1105 Third Ave. on Wednesday.
Duncansville Police Chief James Ott said he saw the smoke and went to the home where he found Steele on the telephone.
"I tried to help her move what I could. I moved a motorcycle from beside the house. But then it got too hot," Ott said.
Moderate smoke was coming out of the eaves of the house when Duncansville Fire Chief Bill Lloyd arrived on the scene.
"Then there was heavy smoke and fire in the back porch/storage area," he said.
The fire was difficult to battle because of the construction of the house, Lloyd said.
"We had no access to the attic where the fire was located," he said. "The house was remodeled several times. There was a roof over a roof."
No damage estimate was available. A state police fire marshal will be called to help determine the fire's cause, Lloyd said.
The family was renting the home to buy it, Frye said.
Several fire trucks, including a Lakemont ladder truck, pulled in front of the house and into an adjacent parking lot. A 5-inch hose was connected to a hydrant at Third Avenue and 11th Street.
The blaze took a toll on the firefighters. They went through three cases of water in the first 45 minutes of the fire. A neighbor offered to bring a case of water for the crews.
The Greater Alleghenies Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to the scene to aid both the firefighters and Steele, her daughter and her boyfriend, who were left homeless.
Third Avenue was closed for several hours because of the fire. Hollidaysburg, Allegheny Township and Blair Township police helped Duncansville police close off the busy thoroughfare before area fire police arrived.
Firefighters from Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, Allegheny Township and Lakemont and two Duncansville ambulances responded. A rapid intervention team from Roaring Spring also responded in case of problems fighting the fire inside the home.
Cresson firefighters were called to stand by in the Duncansville fire station.