MIDDLESEX TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Fire officials are looking into the possibility that a snowglobe may have started a house fire in Middlesex Township.
On Wednesday morning, a home on Kozy Korner Road in Valencia, Butler County, was on fire.
“I had left with her on my hip and shoes in my hand, and the dog… pulling on the dog,” says Crystal Yost about escaping her home.
“She said the upstairs bedroom [is] on fire, which ended up being the little girl’s room,” Middlesex Township Police Officer Conrad Pfeifer said.
He passed Crystal on her way out the door.
Olivia Yost, 3, had the sniffles so her mom stayed home; otherwise, they both would have been out delivering Meals On Wheels for their church.
“We were sitting down there having a tea party,” says Crystal.
Then, the smoke detector went off.
Crystal found her youngest daughter’s bedroom fully engulfed.
“These blackened walls used to be bright yellow,” she said. “It melted all the hangers in her closet.”
Officer Pfeifer grabbed the kitchen extinguisher, but the heat and flames were too much. He did notice that the hottest spot was atop Olivia’s dresser.
After another first responder and the Middlesex Township volunteer firefighters got the fire out, they began looking for a cause. That led back to the dresser and the charred remains of a snowglobe and a straw hat.
As Officer Pfeifer describes it, the solution sounds like it came from a detective story.
“The sun came through the snowglobe, magnified it enough, and caught the straw hat on fire,” he said.
The globe acted like a magnifying glass focusing the sun’s rays, and the straw hat was fuel for a fire.
“That’s what we’re coming up with. Nobody was in that room for four hours,” says Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Pfeifer.
For now, the snowglobe appears to be the culprit.
Olivia picked it out at a yard sale this past summer. It’s Snow White-themed, and she paid a buck for it.
“It’s gotta be the snow globe,” says Crystal. “There was nothing else in here plugged in.”
Strange it may be, but all got out safely, including the family’s pet Bearded Dragon, belonging to one of the Yosts’ 10-year-old twin daughters. It’s one for the family memory books.
“The Lord was looking out for us,” said Crystal.