Pig Survives Pennsylvania House Fire

Forced outside into the morning cold by fire, a family from Independence Township, Beaver County, must now find a new home.

WTAE Channel 4's Gus Rosendale reported that the house, which was built in the 1800s and had been in the family for generations, caught fire on School Road at about 5 a.m.

"My husband got up. There was a little bit of smoke. He went down to the basement and saw fire, and he screamed, 'Get the kids out,' " said Jennifer Karwoski.

Four fire departments battled the quick-moving blaze for about 90 minutes, with a portable tanker providing the only source of water.

"There's no firestops in the walls -- nothing to keep the flames from going from the basement straight to the attic," said Mark New, assistant chief of the Independence Township Fire Department.

Karwoski, her husband and two children escaped unharmed.

Initially, the family thought the fire killed their pot-bellied pig, Dudley. But the animal had apparently buried itself under some clothes for protection, and it was found alive.

The fire appears to have started near a wood-burning stove, according to fire officials. The cause is under investigation.

It's unclear whether the house will be a complete loss. Firefighters said the damage is extensive, and Karwoski said the family will stay with relatives for now.

"I grew up in the house," Karwoski said. "All the memories -- that's the hard part. But we're OK."

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