Wind-aided fire tears through Penn Twp. house
BY RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writer
A two-alarm fire ravaged a large home in Penn Township on Thursday morning, a fire official said, but the resident escaped safely.
Damage to the 499 Fruitville Pike home was estimated at $200,000, according to James DeWalt, a state police fire marshal. The home is about 250 yards south of Temperance Hill Road (Route 772).
The blaze closed Fruitville Pike for nearly three hours, Manheim Fire Company Chief Dan Reif said.
DeWalt investigated the fire and determined that it started accidentally.
"The cause was the electrical service," he said. "It was a really old house. The fire started near where the main (power line) comes in."
Owner Dorothy Burkholder was on the second floor of the home when she smelled smoke around 8:45 a.m., Reif said.
She went downstairs and discovered fire on the first floor. Burkholder exited safely on her own and called 911.
Reif arrived to a working fire at the back of the home.
"There was heavy smoke coming from the roof, and fire was visible inside the second floor," he said.
The flames quickly extended up the walls and into the attic.
"The wind helps push the fire up to the second floor," Reif said.
The fire also spread easier through the walls to the attic because of the way the home was constructed.
Reif and about 50 other firefighters from several area companies extinguished the blaze in about an hour, he said. No one was injured, and no pets were lost in the fire.
The home was not totally destroyed, according to DeWalt. Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $50,000 to its contents.
Reif said that Burkholder will be staying with relatives.