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Neighbor Helps Mokena Residents Flee House Fire

Fire tore through a house on Daniel Trail late Wednesday night, but speedy action by a neighbor helped everyone inside escape the blaze safely.

If anyone knows how to contact the family, please get in touch with us.

An alert police officer helped his Mokena neighbors escape a fire Wednesday night that tore through their Daniel Trail home.

At 10:30 p.m., about half of the two-story house at 11016 Daniel Trail was a burnt-out shell after firefighters put out the blaze, reported as a heavy fire that extended into the second floor.

Four people and a family dog got out safely after David Podkul, who lives two houses away, noticed something wrong as he went to his car to get a golf club.

"I saw orange flames and heard a crackling sound that sounded like fireworks," Podkul said. He got his wife, Cheryl, and they both ran to house to alert the residents to the fire and help them get out.

Podkul is a part-time police officer in the Manhattan Police Department and teaches social studies at Stagg High School in Palos Hills.

"I'd do this for anyone," he said at about 10:30 Wednesday night as crews from the Mokena Fire Protection District began packing up their gear.

The residents who fled the fire, which began sometime after 9 p.m., were huddled at a next-door neighbor's home late Wednesday. Several witnesses told Patch no one was hurt.

Firefighters from Orland, Frankfort and New Lenox fire districts also responded to the fire, and Nicor was on the scene as well to check on the gas line.

Patch will update with more information as it becomes available.

Kirsten September 20, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Please be sure to let us know if there is anything we can do for the family. I am glad they all made it out safe, thank you Mr. Podkul for being so observant.
John September 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Many thanks to all who helped this was very frightening We had just arrived home from cub scout pack night an I told my wife it smelled like someone was having a bonfire as we went on talking I was noticing the smell getting stronger I looked out the back door an noticed the lights of emergency vehicles and at that point realized it was just a block over from us Thank god they all made it out I barely could sleep though thinking about these people now being without a home
Melanie Killham Johnson September 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Yes please let us know what the family needs. We live a block away and had just gotten home from hockey when we saw the smoke and smelled the fire. We knew the police and fire dept were there so they were in good hands. Our thoughts go out to the family.

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