The scene at night of a distant inferno, captured by a cellphone camera, gives way to daylight, where the owners of a home on remote Leppo Road in north Carroll County discovered fire had left a smoldering pit where their house had once stood.
"He's just got out of cabin fever, because we're way up here in the country and the roads didn't get cleared for a number of days, and he was comfortable with that, but once they finally got plowed out, they decided that they wanted to go have something to eat in town," said Kevin Dayhoff, a family friend.
That's when a neighbor spotted the fire and called 911, bringing six separate companies from throughout the county to the scene.
Flames had already consumed the home, and accessing water in the ranging countryside made fighting the fire that much more difficult.
"They did call tanker task force, which added extra water supply to the call because of the location of the incident,” said Robin Stansbury, the public information officer for the Reese and Pleasant Valley Community Volunteer fire companies, “There were about 30 to 40 firefighters and 10 to 15 pieces of equipment."
While the owners were not home, their four dogs and seven cats all perished inside the burning structure.
"The pets are hard. The pets are real hard. They were all part of the family, and we need to say a prayer for the owners here,” Dayhoff said. “They lost their pets and they lost a lifetime of personal possessions and it's all tough. It's all real tough."
At this point, investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office are still trying to determine the cause of this fire.