Family overwhelmed by support after fire

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Nicole Scheafnocker, who escaped the blaze that destroyed her North Huntingdon Township home last week with her husband, Kevin, and their newborn twins, said she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support.

“It’s so hard to put into words,” said Mrs. Scheafnocker. “We truly can’t express our gratitude.”

The Scheafnockers were at their 240 Cherry Lane home when fire broke out at approximately 8:30 p.m. Jan. 27.

According to Mrs. Scheafnocker, her husband smelled smoke and got his family out of the house. They went to a neighbor’s house where they waited for fire crews to respond.

“We lost everything,” she said. “We’re just so happy that we all got out safely.”

She added: “Well, almost everybody. We did lose our cat.”

North Huntingdon Township Police Chief Andrew Lisiecki said a township fire inspector has ruled the fire to be accidental, having started around the clothes dryer in the basement. Chief Lisiecki said when fire crews arrived they found flames coming from the roof, and the fire had spread to a unattached garage.

Mrs. Scheafnocker said her family — including their German Sheperd that was saved, too — is now temporarily staying in a hotel in Monroeville. She said her husband, an electrician, has returned to work, and she is busy with her twins, Sophia and Alex, who were born premature Nov. 30 and came home only shortly before the new year.

“The twins are thriving. We are all doing well,” she said.

Mrs. Scheafnocker said she is thankful for all the donations that she has received since the fire.

Among the various businesses and organizations that collected donations for the Scheafnockers were Synergy Salon and Day Spa in North Huntingdon. “People are so grateful for some way to help,” said Kelsi Marshall, salon receptionist.

Salon owner Ashley Stoken began a Facebook campaign to collect donations for the family shortly after the learning about the fire and the Scheafnockers’ loss. The donations ranged from water to infant formula to store gift cards.

In the meantime, Mrs. Scheafnocker said she and her husband have hopes of rebuilding their home where they had lived for about a year and a half. And while she is thankful for all the donations, she’s now looking to help others in need.

“There’s just so much,” she explained. “I would now like to help others.”

The three firefighters who were injured while fighting the blaze are recovering from their injuries.

Donations for the family are still being accepted at Synergy Salon & Day Spa, 720 Robbins Station Road.

Meanwhile, the Suburban Community Church, 1787 Arona Road, Irwin, will hold a spaghetti dinner from 1 to 7 p.m. Feb. 16 to raise funds for the Scheafnocker family. The cost of the dinner is $7 for adults and $5 for children under age 5.

Linda Metz, freelance writer;

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