Mount Joy family escapes fire; dogs killed BY RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writer
Five residents escaped a fire that heavily damaged their house in Mount Joy Township on Tuesday morning, but a firefighter was injured and two dogs were killed.
The blaze broke out at Paul and Deborah Robinson's home at 692 Cassell Road at 2:30 a.m., according to fire officials.
The couple and their 27-year-old son, Jason, live in the home, and Paul Robinson's sister and her 17-year-old daughter were staying there temporarily, according to Trooper Dustin Shireman, a state police fire marshal.
The accidental fire -- the cause of which was electrical, Shireman said -- started near an outlet and power strip in Jason's first-floor bedroom. The fire woke him; he alerted his family and ran across the street to get a neighbor to call 911, said Jeremy Shaffner, assistant chief of Elizabethtown Fire Department.
It was unclear at that time if Deborah Robinson had gotten out of the house, so the call was dispatched as a dwelling fire with a person possibly trapped on the second floor.
Arriving firefighters learned she had exited safely, so they concentrated on fighting the blaze, Shaffner said.
"The back half of the house was on fire," he said. "Flames were shooting six to eight feet horizontally out several windows."
The older part of the house, which was one story, was on fire, Shaffner said. A two-story addition at the front of the home was not.
Firefighters used hoses to mount a "very, very fast interior attack on the fire" and brought it under control in about a half-hour, he said.
About 35 firefighters contributed to the effort.
"It was obviously very cold, so water that ran out from fighting the fire froze, causing a slipping and tripping hazard," Shaffner said. "We rotated firefighters in and out so they could get warm."
The house is in a wooded area, which made the wind a nonfactor, he added.
Paul Robinson's sister and niece were taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, Shaffner said. Their names were not released.
A firefighter sustained a broken nose and a concussion while fighting the fire and also was taken to the hospital, Shaffner said.
The fire ravaged part of the home, but the firefighters' efforts saved part of it.
"The front half of the home has heat damage on the first floor and smoke damage on the second floor," he said. "The back half is pretty much a total loss."
Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the home and $50,000 to its contents, Shaffner said. A nearby shed had about $1,000 damage; the fire's heat melted some siding.
The Red Cross was helping the family members, who were displaced by the fire, Shaffner said.
Two dogs died in the fire. Three others escaped before firefighters arrived.
Elizabethtown Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from Rheems, Mount Joy, Bainbridge and Maytown, and Middletown and Londonderry Township in Dauphin County.
Crews left the scene around 6 a.m.
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