Two people were displaced after a fire gutted their row home in Topton on Friday night, April 16. And, according to neighbors, the fire killed a pet in the house.

The fire in the first block of East Washington Street was reported by neighbors shortly after 9 p.m.

A neighbor, Jodi Bertna, said she and her husband were watching a movie on Netflix on Friday night when she heard a popping sound.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “Then I said to my husband ‘I smell smoke.’ We went out the back and saw flames shooting out the back.”

They live two doors from the house on fire.

The flames were shooting out from the kitchen and curled over the porch roof to the second floor, Bertna said.

The mother and daughter that live in the burning house were not home at the time.

Topton Fire Company struck a second alarm to draw additional crews from area fire companies.

“I was really scared because we’re a little too close,” Bertna said.

Another neighbor, Lenora Ruth, said she first knew the adjoining home was on fire when smoke started coming through a bathroom vent on the second floor.

She called 9-1-1 and rescued some of her neighbors’ dogs and cats. Other residents and responders helped get all but one of the pets, a dog, to safety. The dog perished, Ruth said.

Ruth was also worried about her own pets — dogs, cats and reptiles — as her house filled with smoke.

Heat from the fire in the adjoining structure blew out some of her windows, and firefighters had to break more to ventilate the house.

Ruth and she and her husband and son were unable to return to the house for the rest of the night.

Ruth said they slept in their vehicle.

“I didn’t want to leave my animals,” she said.

They were able to return after a restoration crew remediated the smoke and water damage and shored up the shattered windows.

Fire officials could not be reached for comment.

(Reporter Jeremy Long)

contributed to this report)

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