Dryer Fire engulfed home in flames

Two people were injured in an early morning blaze at 137 Canada Road in Covington Township that displaced 10 people.

About 1:20 a.m., 14-year-old Dakota Watkins woke his family to alert them of a dryer fire.

“My son woke us up telling us there was a fire,” said his father, Mike Watkins. “I ran to the laundry room and saw flames around the dryer, so I grabbed the fire extinquisher nearby.”

The elder Watkins nearly had the fire under control when the extinguisher ran out, he said.

“When that ran out, I grabbed a gallon of water. I tried finishing putting out the blaze with the water, but the smoke got too bad and I told everyone to get out of the house. By then, the flames engulfed the room,” he said.

“No one had time to grab anything, no coats, no shoes, nothing but the clothes we had on.”

Blossburg and Mansfield fire departments were on scene within 12 minutes. Liberty, Wellsboro, Lawrenceville and Tioga also were dispatched.

While firefighters did their job, Mike Watkins sat in his van with his wife Sharon, his mother-in-law Judy Zinzerling, his five children, ranging in age from 1 to 14 years old, and the family beagle.

Meanwhile, two friends who were staying with the Watkins family were taken to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro for smoke inhalation.

Mike Watkins identified them as Linda Fassnacht and Kermit “Butch” Erskin.

The Watkins family did not have insurance. The Red Cross is assisting the family with temporary housing.