A raging inferno left a family's home in ruins Monday, on a day the couple should have been celebrating their wedding anniversary.
The Berks County family lost everything in the fire that was reported just before 10 a.m. in the 3500 block of New Holland Road, also known as Route 625, in Cumru Twp., Berks Co.
Seventy-five firefighters from Berks and Lancaster counties teamed up to tackle the fire, which quickly reached three alarms.
Flames spilled out of windows, torched the roof and walls and sent plumes of heavy, dark smoke into the air.
"I put some clothes in the dryer, and I took off for work. She [Danciu's wife] was upstairs sleeping," said Sorin Danciu, who has lived in the home with his family for the last six years.
"I'm still looking at my house, and I can't believe this happened to us," said Ina Danciu, who escaped the fire with only her pajamas and handbag. "The smoke was coming too fast on the second level, and I was scared."
Ina Danciu smelled the smoke, panicked and made it out of the house unharmed.
"Maybe this is a nightmare and tomorrow will be a good day and will be a new start for us," said Ina, as tears rolled down her cheek.
Neigbors on New Holland Road recalled hearing what sounded like two explosions and were outside watching the flames as they engulfed the house.
"When I first came out the smoke was going up and I had trouble breathing so I went back inside," said Carolyn Hatt, who lives across the street.
Firefighters from Berks and Lancaster counties fought against the flames for nearly two hours. Eight different departments responded, and five tanker trucks were needed to put out the fire, said officials.
No injuries were reported, but the home was a total loss. An exact cause has not been determined, but Ina said she believed the flames started in the laundry room.
The couple's two kids were at school at the time. All Ina and her husband could do was stand in the street and watch. Monday was their 12th wedding anniversary. A day they should have celebrated turned into a nightmare.
"I put so much money into this, everything is gone. Everything. Everything," said Sorin Danciu.
The American Red Cross assisted with food and clothing, and the couple planned to stay with family and friends.