Lancaster city house fire displaces two families

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A family of four in Lancaster is without a home for the holidays, after a fire broke out on the 300 block of South Prince Street just before 9 a.m.

Gorg Keys was home with his two kids, when he noticed the smell of smoke.

“It got thicker, and I went to see what it was, and there was a fire on the stove,” he said. “I said to my kids, ‘There’s a fire! There’s a fire’ and they got out. And I tried to go back in to get it out, but it got too thick too quick.”

The Keys were in the process of moving, but say almost all of their belongings were inside the house.

“Being the holidays, we’re struggling as it is,” he said. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”

The Red Cross is helping with the immediate needs of the Keys family and their next door neighbors, who will be out of their home for the next few days because of smoke damage.

Spokeswoman Kathy Smyser said the Red Cross responds to fires like this one all to often around the holidays.

“We always see an uptick in fires this time of year,” she said. “Couple things work against us. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires.”

Smyser said people should make sure to keep pot holders and towels away from heat sources, never leave things cooking on the stove unattended and to closely monitor small children and pets in the kitchen.

Keys is thankful that his entire family, and his two dogs, got out safety. He said the family has a strong support system that will help them get through this unexpected loss.

“We’re going to be alright,” he said. “I’m a Keys. We’re strong.”

A city fire marshal has ruled the cause of the fire as undetermined, but not suspicious. It caused some $40,000 to $45,000 in damage.