A Jeannette, Pennsylvania, police corporal recently experienced a devastating house fire, but managed to rescue his mom and valuable artwork from the flames with help from local firefighters.
The fire on April 10 began after Corporal Chris Mason attempted to start his 1965 AC Cobra replica, a car he had dreamt of owning since he was 15 years old.
While attempting to start the engine, Mason “heard a pop, [and] saw a flash on the side of the garage wall,” which was followed by the sight of fuel on the ground.
He quickly searched for a fire extinguisher but was unable to locate one. Realizing that the flames were spreading quickly, he raced to get his mother out of the house before it was too late.
Jeannette Fire Chief Bill Frye reported that firefighters encountered a cloud of black smoke upon arriving at the scene.
The fire had already spread into the home and caused significant damage, collapsing the carport and causing a power line to fall.
Firefighters worked to clear the fire from all corners of the Cape Cod–style home to stop the spread of flames. Although the entire house suffered smoke damage, the flames were contained to the basement and one interior first-floor wall.
Despite the severity of the situation, “Both the city crews and our mutual aid partners from the surrounding municipalities were able to get in really quick and get it all put out,” Frye said.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by a state police fire marshal.
After the flames were under control, Mason and Frye entered the home to retrieve a precious work of art by Native American artist Rance Hood.
The painting, which depicts a wolf near a Native American burial site, was purchased by Mason’s mother in the late 1960s for about $200. However, she was unaware of the painting’s true value, as Hood is one of few artists who adheres to traditional Native American painting styles. Mason emphasized the importance of saving the painting, which he plans to keep in the family for generations to come.
“That’s just been in the family forever,” he said. “It’ll never be sold. It’ll stay in the family.”