Family photos tucked inside drawer survive Greenville house fire

There's lots of damage inside Charles Hodge's Greenville rental home, which he was thinking about buying

Greenville house fire


GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Charles Hodge, who had a tumor removed a little less than a year ago, is now cleaning up after a fire that ravaged through his Greenville home Monday morning.

Crews were called to the house on N. Race Street around 5 a.m. after blaring smoke detectors woke Hodge up. He takes a sleeping aid and would’ve never gotten out of bed without that alarm.

Hodge had just seconds to get out and barely enough time to grab his cell phone so he could call 911.

“Threw pants on, grabbed my shoes and phone, straight out the door I went. It was in a matter of five minutes, this thing was engulfed. If I had waited any longer or if the smoke detector hadn’t gone off, I wouldn’t have made it. I’d be dead,” he said.

Hodge and another person inside both made it out safely.

There’s lots of damage inside Hodge’s home. A new sectional he made two payments on is gone and his kitchen is destroyed.

Charred rubble is everywhere, including the spot where the investigator traced the fire had started.

“Down to a power strip plugged in behind an entertainment center against the living room wall,” said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Luke Nelson.

Hodge was renting but had improved the flooring, dry wall, and carpet inside, with thoughts on buying the house. He was getting ready to fix the outside.

All he has left now are some family photos, which survived inside a drawer.

Hodge has had his share of ups and downs. In August, he had a tumor removed from his throat. Now, this fire is just another situation calling for a personal bounce back.

“I’m tired of getting to that point where I gotta start over. Somebody was watching out for me today,” he said.

Hodge is getting help from the American Red Cross to find a placed to stay.

Firefighters are used to on-the-job dangers but a nest full of hornets found outside Hodge’s house was a little more than they expected. Three firefighters got stung, including one who was stung three times.

“They were jumping around because they were getting stung in the neck and stuff,” Hodge said. “They were trying to get in the front door, they were trying to break the door down to get in, and the bees were coming out after them.”

Police are calling the fire accidental.

Greenville had another fire recently where a smoke alarm inside a home had no batteries. Thankfully, no one was home at the time or it could’ve been a disaster.

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