It will be three weeks Friday since fire consumed the home, and nearly took the lives of Jeff Heyl and his family at 125 Lilac Avenue in Ross Township. A neighbor, by banging on the front door as fire spread from a rear deck to throughout the home.
Heyl, his wife Kim, son Kevin and daughter Krissy ran from the home in pajamas and bare feet. Within minutes, the fire had spread to the attic. The fire, so intense, that in the few minutes it took firefighters to arrive, there was little chance of saving the home.
Neighbors immediately started to help in an effort that has had the momentum of a snowball rolling downhill.
"We received word Sunday that a resident of the North Hills has offered her home for the family to live in until their house is rebuilt," said Paul Shield's mother, Patti. "She has recently relocated within the school district and would like to remain anonymous."
The Shields garage has been the dropping off point for donated household items and clothes.
"It's been amazing how people have helped," said Shields.
Shields said another neighbor, North Hills 10th grader Jack Rieger, assembled a computer with used parts and donated the rebuilt machine to the family.
Another anonymous donor gave the family a laptop.
"The most touching story was from a kindergartener," said Shields. "She was so worried that Santa would not be able to find Krissy and Jeff that she put together a Christmas sack just for them."
There have been several fundraisers for the family, and more are scheduled.
"On December 9th, The Christ Lutheran Church on Peony Ave. is holding a potluck Dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.," said Shields. "Ham and beverages will be provided. A free will donation will be collected to support the Heyl Family in this time of need. Their phone number is 412-364-4954."
In addition, Neighbors and family members have also been sharing ideas and offering support on the North Hills Patch Facebook page.
Monetary donations are being sent to West View Savings Bank, 9001 Perry Highway, 15237, C/O Jeff Heyl Fund. Contact Lori Ross @ 412-364-1911 with questions.
The Ross Township Fire Marshal said the fire started under the rear deck of the home. It has been ruled an accident.
Check out some of today's other top stories here .