PennDOT worker saves family from burning Armstrong County home

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BOGGS, Pa. - A PennDOT worker who forgot his wallet on his way to work Wednesday morning turned into a hero after saving a young family from a burning home.

Bryan Yarnal, 21; his fiancée Shantelle Harrelson, 21; Hailey, 2, and 22-month-old Ray were at the home at 1849 Route 28/66 when the fire broke out in the laundry room at 7:06 a.m.

Deborah Casadei, public information officer with PennDOT, said Brant Cirrincione, a PennDOT employee, was on his way to work in Clarion County when he saw the flames and alerted neighbors and the home's occupants.

"I saw an orange glow and I turned around," said Cirrincione. "I have a family. I have a wife and kids. I would want someone to do it for me."

Cirrincione, of Cabot, Butler County, said he had initally forgotten his wallet at home which delayed his commute by 10 minutes. He said he noticed something out of the corner of his eye while he drove past the house along Route 28/66. When he turned his vehicle around he saw the flames and smoke.

"I started beating on the door, the windows, the walls," said Cirrincione.

That's when he said he heard a woman yelling "My babies, my babies" and heard children crying.

Cirrincione was there when Harrelson came out followed by Yarnal, who was carrying the children. He said it seemed like it took forever before firefighters arrived on the scene but that they actually got there very quickly.

A distraught Yarnal, still dressed in pajamas, looked at the charred remains of the house in disbelief. He said his children's bedroom was right next to the laundry room. He said he was so grateful that everyone got out safe and unharmed.

The homeowner, John Hufhand, was visibly upset as he surveyed the smoldering ruins of the 1 ½ story house. He said he had owned the house for 50 years and rented it to the couple for the past two years.

Bill Cloak, assistant chief of Pine-Templeton Fire Department, said the fire originated with the dryer. The building was insured but the renters did not have rental insurance.

Harrelson's mother, who lives in Indiana, rushed to the scene as soon as she got the call. She said even though the couple lost all of their material belongings, those items could be replaced.

"The most important thing is that the kids, that everyone is OK," she said, adding that even the family pets - a cat and dog - escaped unharmed.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.