Lightning may have sparked Berks Co. house fire

Author: , Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published: Apr 15 2013 03:19:04 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2013 06:29:37 PM EDT
CENTRE TWP., Pa. -

Strong storms Wednesday night spelled tragedy for one family in Berks County.

A lightning strike sparked a house fire, which claimed the lives of two precious pets.

A small Yorkshire Terrier waited outside the home on Cornerstone Drive in Centre Township. The dog probably doesn't remember the fire that left a gaping hole in the back.

The fire was sparked by a lightning strike, officials said. Neighbors spotted the blaze and rushed to help.

"We forced our way into the house, looking for the owners right away. They weren't home. Then we saw all the dogs. That was our focus then, all of the dogs. We tried to get all of the dogs out as quick as we could before we suffered some harm," said neighbor Bobby Parker.

Twelve dogs were rescued; two others did not survive.

The crew that's repairing the house said the owner is just simply too devastated to talk about what happened, but neighbors and fire officials spoke for homeowners Owen and Sharon Jones, saying the couple have generous hearts.

"They donated a big screen TV to the fire company here for training purposes," said Capt. Ronald Zimmerman, with the Central Berks Fire Company, who added that he wasn't surprised to hear the Jones' neighbors came to their rescue, not just because of what they have done for the community, but also because that's just the way this community is. "You never know when something like this is going to happen out here. You will find you have a lot of good neighbors that will pitch in and help."

Fire officials estimate the home suffered at least $40,000 worth of damage, but any pet lover will tell you, you can't put a price on the four legged members of your family.