Neighbors watch as firefighters attempt to control a fire on Southampton Avenue on Saturday. (Photo by Jane Piotrowski)

Neighbors have raised $1,000 for displaced homeowners.

by Pete Mazzaccaro 

Early in the evening of Saturday, June30, at just around 5 p.m., Jane Piotrowski thought she smelled something strange.

I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Piotrowski said. She was in her backyard at the time. “I thought someone was burning paper.”

When she got to the front of her house, she noticed smoke billowing from the home across the street, owned by her neighbors Robert and Annette Murray.

The home, 29 W. Southampton Ave., was empty — the Murrays having recently left for a graduation party.

Some neighbors aware that two cats and a dog were still in the home tried to break in to let the animals out, Piotroski said.

But within minutes, fire trucks were on the scene and firefighters entered the home, rescuing all three animals as they battled back the flames.  According to Piotrowski, there were soon seven to eight fire trucks in total.

As of Monday afternoon, the Philadelphia Fire Department still had not made a ruling as to what had caused the fire.

Piotrowski said neighbors had raised $1,000 for the Murrays, who were staying with friends and relatives.

Piotrowski said anyone interested in helping can contact her at 215-696-4864.

This post is updated from the original on Saturday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m.