A neighbor awakened a sleeping North Hill couple whose house caught fire early Sunday.
The man, whose name was not released, noticed a side porch was burning at the home of Dan and Kristin Effinite, 201 E. Northview Ave., at 12:33 a.m. and began pounding on their door.
The pounding alerted the family dog, which started barking and woke the couple. They were sleeping in a room just above the porch, according to New Castle Assistant Fire Chief Mike Kobbe. They escaped safely, along with the dog and a pet turtle, he said.
Firefighters arrived on the scene four minutes later to find the west porch in flames, which had spread into the living room.
Deep snow and icy conditions gave firefighters some headaches. One firefighter had a minor injury from a fall on the ice, but did not seek medical treatment, Kobbe said. He added that icy conditions caused a hydrant at Albert Street and Northview to malfunction and firefighters had to tap a hydrant on Carlisle Avenue instead. However, he said this did not hamper the firefighting effort because firefighters brought a tank of water and were using the hydrant only as a back-up.
Damage was estimated at $20,000 to the structure and $35,000 to the contents, Kobbe said. The fire marshal is investigating.
Firefighters were on the scene about two hours. He said the couple is staying with family.