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Neighbors help save home, residents in fire
Lincoln Journal Star Article
May 15, 2006


Neighbors help save home, residents in fire BY GWEN TIETGEN / Lincoln Journal Star

Troy Zornes and his friend, Dan Birch, helped a neighbor Wednesday afternoon when they saw smoke billowing near the house across the street. They hurried across to 2141 S. 49th St., called 911 and saw the home’s deck aflame at about 3:11 p.m. They knocked at the house, where resident Jeremy Reynolds was in the basement on the Internet.

Reynolds hadn’t noticed the fire, which had spread to the kitchen. “It was all the way up to the roof by the time I noticed it,” Reynolds said.

Zornes said they twisted some garden hoses together, but it was too late.

Reynolds got out of the home safely. He said he lives at the rental home with three roommates.

At least two of the occupants said they didn’t have renter’s insurance, officials said.

Lincoln firefighters extinguished the fire. As they worked, black smoke rolled from the home’s chimney, windows and doors.

The back yard told the story: a small deck burned to a crisp and a kitchen with charred insulation peeling from the walls. Nearby, a tree’s partially scorched branches revealed a black ring.

Fire Inspector Ken Hilger said damages are estimated at $70,000 to the home and $15,000 to the contents.

A preliminary investigation showed the fire started from a discarded cigarette or cigarettes in a roll-out trash bin that was near the wood deck, Hilger said. The fire was accidental, he added.

Rescuers worked to find five cats, including two kittens, two snakes, a lizard, two turtles and two rats, said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Pat Borer.

At least one adult cat and two kittens were resuscitated after rescuers gave them oxygen.

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