Vonnie Anderson cradled her sleeping, 10-month-old baby as she and her husband, Anthony, stood in the road in upper New Montrose around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Mrs. Anderson had moments earlier encouraged her husband back to her side, noting that their baby was sleeping.
He had been stooping in dismay, watching in disbelief at the glaring embers of what used to be their home.
Mr. Anderson dried his tears as he came back to his wife’s side.
He thanked neighbours for their support, and, along with his stepdaughter, Ai Yonté Jack, set out for his mother’s house in Edinboro.
They were all barefooted and painted a regrettably literal picture of what it really means to have only your life and the clothes on your back.
The family lost their home, which they built 18 months ago, to fire Wednesday night.
Anderson told reporters he and his family were baking inside the house sometime after 7 p.m.
“We bought a cylinder of gas today and as we put it on, we hear it giving a funny sound as if it’s leaking. We took off the head and tried to tighten it back and after we tightened the hose on, we put it back on, and as we light back the oven, we hear a little oozing coming from the cylinder.
“And then I hear the wife say to me, “Antho, that going blow (explode)!’”
He said he then told him family to leave the house.
“And as I tell them come out the house, the whole thing start to blow…
“I was inside there trying to throw some water when I nearly get trapped. I had to come out the back door,” said Anderson, who suffered some burns in the fire.
Anderson said the 24’x26’, two-bedroom house was build mainly of plywood, with some segments of concrete.
“We lose everything. Everything went. Everything. Everything. Everything was destroyed,” he said.
He said that he had tightened the clasp that fastens the gas hose to the regulator, but that wasn’t the problem.
“It seems as though it was the cylinder itself,” he said.
The fire truck that responded to the fire has some challenges reaching the scene because of the steep, narrow, and winding roads in the area.