Marine saves family, loses Purple Heart certificate, Iraq pictur - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Marine saves family, loses Purple Heart certificate, Iraq pictures in house fire

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LOWER ALSACE TOWNSHIP, PA (WFMZ/CNN) - "It was quick. It burned fast and furious,” a neighbor said of the blaze.

In a matter of minutes on Friday, flames were shooting out the windows through the door and the back of a house in Lower Alsace Township.

"I noticed the little orange glow and I turned sideways, saw the corner was fully engulfed,” Kevin Cannon said.

Cannon, a sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps, says he first heard the smoke detector, managed to get his wife outside, and then ran through a wall of flames to save his 4-month-old daughter.

"Very, very lucky and the smoke detector going off let’s just say that's it, that woke them up, it got them out,” the neighbor said.

Firefighters were called around 5:30 a.m. to the 2100 block of Highland Avenue. But the fire marshal says they were slipping and falling trying to climb the steep hill to the house, and the snow pile made it difficult to get their tools out.

"The firefighters did a pretty good job with what they had to deal with to get the flames knocked down,” the neighbor said.

"I lost somebody in the past through a fire and I just have a big heart,” Sandy Hartman said.  The extensive damage brought tears to the eyes of complete strangers, like Hartman.

The family lost virtually everything, and Cannon says that includes his military uniforms, his Purple Heart certificate and pictures from Iraq.

"I'm even willing to give up stuff that I own to help them out because this is just devastating to lose everything,” Hartman said.

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