PORTAGE — An errant firework is the likely cause to a fire that significantly damaged a home Saturday night.

Assistant Portage Fire Chief Tim Sosby said the department received a call for a residential fire in the 3200 block of Joann Street about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. When firefighters arrived, the home was engulfed in flames.

Sosby said fire was inside the house and all over the front of the house and went through the roof.

An elderly couple living in the home were alerted by neighbors who helped them escape from the blaze. One of the residents' two cats died in the fire.

Sosby said the cause apparently was a mortar-type firework shot from across the street that landed in front of bushes at the home. The fire went up the vinyl side and into the attic.

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He said two or three people were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation. The house received significant damage, but most of the contents were saved, receiving smoke and water damage. 

Portage was assisted by South Haven, Ogden Dunes, Porter and Burns Harbor fire departments.

"People need to understand what fireworks can do," said Sosby as residents head into a long July 4th weekend.

Sosby said "while enjoyable, they can be dangerous" and suggested people only shoot off fireworks under strict supervision and in an area that is safe.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.