Blaze damages home in East Donegal Twp.
BY LARRY ALEXANDER, Staff Writer
Fire caused about $200,000 in damage to an East Donegal Township home Thursday.
The fire was reported at 6:05 p.m. at 172 Vinegar Ferry Road, where a shed was ablaze at the rear of the property.
By the time firefighters arrived, the flames had spread to the home.
"When we arrived we had heavy fire (at the rear) of the house, and a shed fully involved," said Maytown Fire Company Assistant Chief Shawn Risser. "There appeared to be fire in the attic."
Risser said the fire "burned a good bit of the attic" of the attractive, single-story brick home.
Damage to the first floor of the house was "rather extensive," Risser said, largely from water pouring down from the charred attic as firefighters fought the blaze.
Around 6:30 p.m., Maytown fire Chief Adam Kosheba ordered all firefighters to evacuate the building. Risser said the command was given because of multiple add-ons and varying roof layers at the rear of the house.
"That made it difficult for us to get up in there, so we had to back guys out, get a different attack plan and push back in," Risser said.
Behind the house, Risser said, there also was a gas grill and a propane tank or tanks inside the burning shed.
"I think they might have exploded," Risser said. "They definitely helped accelerate the fire up the side of the house and into the attic. At least, that's what we assume."
Fire burned through the roof, leaving a charred gash across its peak. Firefighters also chopped holes in the roof to vent heated gases and smoke.
No one was home when the fire broke out. Homeowner Virginia Emswiler, a gray blanket wrapped around her to ward off the cold evening chill, said she had been in Lititz. She said she did not know how the fire started.
Risser was asked about a report that there was a family pet inside the house. He replied that there was supposedly a cat inside, but two searches of the house turned up no sign of the cat.
"Maybe it got out," he said.
Firefighters remained on the scene for several hours, dousing hot spots and searching for a cause of the blaze. A state police fire marshal was called to the scene.
The home at 172 Vinegar Ferry Road was something of a local showpiece. Featuring an in-ground pool, neatly manicured lawns and flower beds, and a country-cottage type appearance, it had been one of 10 homes featured on a Holiday House Tour in 2010 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Maytown's founding.
Assisting Maytown Fire Company Thursday were firefighters from Wrightsville, Bainbridge, Rheems, Craley (York County), Elizabethtown, Mount Joy, Columbia, Marietta, Hellam, West Hempfield and Hempfield.
Northwest EMS stood by.