Community steps up to aid North Huntingdon family
Members of the Scheafnocker family of North Huntingdon were just settling into their evening routine Jan. 28, when their lives changed dramatically.
“It was about 8:30 p.m., and my husband, Kevin, was just sitting down to dinner while I was busy making bottles for our 2-month-old twins, Sofia and Alexander,” said Nicole Scheafnocker, 38. “I heard the door in the hallway move and thought the cat went down the basement, so I checked because he sometimes gets stuck down there.”
Scheafnocker summoned her husband when she saw smoke wafting up from basement.
“He ran downstairs and came back up quickly and told us that we needed to get out of the house as he put the babies in my arms and covered them with a blanket,” she said.
Within minutes, flames swept through their home on Cherry Lane and heavily damaged the structure, including the family vehicle.
Whatever didn't burn was destroyed by smoke and water. Their German shepherd, Raegan, escaped the fire, but the family's cat, Dexter, died in the blaze, Nicole Scheafnocker said.
Four volunteer firefighters suffered injuries that were not life-threatening in the incident. North Huntingdon police said the accidental fire is believed to have started in a clothes dryer.
“We're happy that we were able to salvage a few of our memories,” Nicole Scheafnocker said.
“We found the hospital bracelets and the ‘belly-button scabs' from when the twins were born, along with a blanket that an aunt passed down to us. We're still going through some papers and things that were in the china closet, but mostly, everything is gone.”
In the months since the fire, the family has been trying to put the incident behind them and rebuild their lives.
“Thankfully the twins have been a distraction for us,” Nicole Scheafnocker said. “They keep us pretty busy, which keeps us from dwelling too much on what happened.”
The Norwin community has stepped up to let the family know that they are not on their own.
“When our son Vincent learned about the fire, he approached my husband and I to ask what we could do to help the family,” said Karen Baer, whose husband, Paul, is senior pastor of Suburban Community Church on Arona Road.
Vincent Baer also serves as a worship leader at the nondenominational Christian church.
“It didn't matter that we didn't know the family. We felt great compassion for them and wanted to do something to involve the community in helping them get them back on their feet,” she said.
A spaghetti dinner Feb. 16 raised nearly $3,500 for the family, along with $1,500 in donations from members of the community and several other local churches, Karen Baer said.
The Stewartsville Lions Club has planned a pancake breakfast March 30 to assist the family.
“We do two of these fundraisers a year and put the money in our activities fund,” said Tony Mastro, the club's publicity director.
“But when we heard about the fire, we decided it was important to help the family get through this very difficult time.”
Ashley Stoken, the owner of Synergy Salon and Day Spa in North Huntingdon, learned about the fire on Facebook and started spreading the word that the business was accepting donations that would be passed onto the family.
“Within a day, people from the community started dropping off clothing for the parents and the twins, along with diapers, baby wipes, car seats, household items and even furniture,” Stoken said. “It was a phenomenal response. It didn't take long before the massage room where we were storing the items was filled to the ceiling.”
Nicole Scheafnocker said the assistance her family is receiving “is overwhelming.”
“It's incredibly heartwarming to live in a community of people who are so generous,” she said. “We are so thankful to everybody who has helped us.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 ejections, benches-clearing scrum mark Pirates’ win over Reds
- Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
- Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
- Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
- Pirates notebook: Burnett says ‘surgery is not an option’
- Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
- Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
- Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow
- 2 teens drown in Lawrence County creek
- Developers share their vision for Garden Theater block on North Side
- Pa. breeding ground for corruption, experts say