By Ross Guidotti

WILKINS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A home in Wilkins Township was heavily damaged by an early Wednesday morning fire.

And the owner, 95-year-old Frank Yowan, says his smoke detector saved his life.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 1:15 a.m. on Gardenia Drive.

Most of the damage was contained to the back of the house, but 25 percent of the home was destroyed.

“It was a pretty big ball of fire when I came out,” witness Ryan Hohn said.

Hohn was concerned about his elderly neighbor and was surprised by what he saw.

“He walks with a cane,” he said. “Maybe once or twice I saw him without a cane.”

Hohn spotted Yowan walking quickly — and without his cane — out of the burning house.

“He walked up here, rang the doorbell, walked back down and was gonna go back in,” Hohn said. “He was going to go back in for his clothes.”

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen and bathroom addition to the home. Yowan said it was an electrical fire.

However, the cause has not officially been determined.

Yowan will spend Thanksgiving with his relatives.

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