HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A woman was able to get her family and pets to safety after fire broke out overnight at her home in Westmoreland County.

The blaze was first reported around 2:30 a.m. on Maple Drive in Hempfield Township.

The woman who lives there reported hearing an explosion before seeing the fire.

“The next thing I knew I heard a big boom,” said Nicole Lawson, the home owner. “I looked and there were just flames, and at first I thought it was a bad dream, and then I realized it wasn’t.”

She was able to wake up her children and get them out of the home. When she got outside with them she found her home was engulfed in flames.

“I just grabbed my kids up,” Lawson said. “I feel bad because I just grabbed them both up under both arms and just ran and kind of threw them. I said stay there and back up. Get as far away as you can because even at that time the flames were so hot.”

She then went back into the home to get her boyfriend out as well as her two dogs. She went back in for a third time to rescue her four pet ferrets.

“I know everyone says I’m stupid for that, but I had four ferrets in there. I ran back inside for them, and that’s how I burned my arm and my foot,” said Lawson. “It’s just so scary, everything just went up and every time they said that it was out, it kept going back up. Everything’s gone now.”

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

They are focusing their attention on the garage area, which is attached to the home. It was gutted in the fire and the cars inside were completely burned. No official cause has been determined.

The fire department believes the loud boom Lawson heard was the windows bursting from the heat.

For the time being, the family is staying with relatives who live close by.

Hempfield Township Fire Department
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