WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Woman Crawls to Safety after Fire near Woolrich

PINE CREEK TOWNSHIP — A home in Clinton County was heavily damage by fire Tuesday morning.
clint fire 5-10

PINE CREEK TOWNSHIP -- A home in Clinton County was heavily damage by fire Tuesday morning and one of the residents was forced to crawl to safety.

It happened around 7 a.m. in the home on Park Avenue in Pine Creek Township, near Woolrich.

A woman with a disability was trying to get out of her burning home in Clinton County when she tripped and fell. Because the woman has multiple sclerosis, she couldn't get back up, so she had to crawl across the lawn and across the road to her neighbor's house to get away from the fire.

Surrounded by friends and family now, Sonja Barner was home alone Tuesday morning when the fire started.

"I'm just glad I got out," she said.

"I heard a loud boom and I looked out and there was smoke pouring and fire flew through the back of the house," said neighbor Carol Rainey.

The Woolrich fire chief says a cigarette left on the back porch caught fire and quickly spread to the rest of the home.

"By the time I got back to the living room, the flames were already across the dining room ceiling," Barner recalled.

Not only did she just make some renovations to her home to make it easier for her to get around, she just bought a brand new 2016 handicap accessible van.

"We just made everything handicap accessible and everything is gone," she said.

The mother of one can't get around without the help of her cane or scooter. She has M.S., a disease that affects the nervous system, so while Sonja knew she had to make her way outside fast, she had trouble getting there.

"And then I walked out to the grass there and I fell."

All alone, she couldn't pull herself to her feet.

"I was afraid I was going to die at that point. I mean seriously."

Sonja wasn't about to sit and wait for help. Neighbors who woke up to the fire saw Sonja pulling herself to safety.

"She was crawling across the road on her hands and knees to get away from the house and it was in the neighbor's yard. Nobody was with her yet," said Rainey.

A few hours later, Sonja is doing fine. She says while her legs may not work well all the time, the strength of her family helped pull her to safety.

"I'm too stubborn. I would have found a way."

She lived in the home with her son. Both are staying with relatives down the road.