Fawn woman left homeless, pets die in Sunday afternoon fire

August 12, 2018
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Cynthia McKrell, 63, arrives at her Johnson Avenue home to find crews fighting a fire there. Aug. 5, 2018.

Cynthia McKrell returned home from her granddaughter’s baby shower Sunday to find her Fawn Township home shrouded in smoke and swarming with firefighters.

Fire crews were dispatched to McKrell’s Johnson Avenue home shortly after 2 p.m. to a report of heavy smoke coming from the roof. They arrived to find the house, which is off of Bull Creek Road, filled with smoke and flames.

Firefighters worked for more than two hours to control the flames, which, according to McKrell, most likely claimed the lives of her 9-year-old dog, a family cat and her litter of kittens.

McKrell, the home’s sole resident, was not injured.

Fawn Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 Deputy Chief Dave Collings said the home sustained heavy damage, but wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a total loss.

Collings couldn’t say exactly what caused the fire, but did say it is under investigation.

Collings said that to the best of his knowledge no firefighters were injured while stopping the blaze.

Neighbor George Calhoun said that he stepped out of his home just after 2 p.m. to see smoke coming from McKrell’s property.

“I ran over to bang on the door to see if anyone was home, thankfully she was out,” he said. “I tried to get in to save the puppy, but it was already too hot and smoky.

“I could see flames about 8 feet high along the back wall. I feel bad for the dog, but I couldn’t get in there.”

McKrell, 63, said that she has lived in the home for 26 years. She said her husband, David, lived there from age 2 until his death in 2016.

“I just can’t imagine how it could have started,” McKrell said.

McKrell said that she has a place to stay in the interim.

Crews from West Deer, Tarentum, Frazer, and Fawn responded to the fire.

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