Little word on latest MT blaze
BY LARRY ALEXANDER, Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal on Thursday was still trying to determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed the vacant caretaker's house on the Gammache farm property at New Holland Avenue and Route 30.
But secrecy surrounding Wednesday afternoon's fire was thicker than the smoke still rising from the ruins Thursday.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that, around the time the fire was reported at 5:09 p.m., a construction worker for CHN Site Construction, which is developing the site for Charter Homes, chased several youths from the grounds.
Those reports also indicated that Manheim Township police drove the worker around the surrounding neighborhood to see if he could identify the youths, and that they were found and taken in.
Because the cause of the fire has not been discovered and the investigation is ongoing, Manheim Township police would not release any information, other than to say "persons of interest were detained nearby."
Jerry Graeter, site supervisor for CHN Site Construction, also declined comment Thursday afternoon, saying he was acting on advice from police.
"I'd love to tell you what we saw out here, so that people know it was nothing we did," Graeter said. "But the police said any information I give could hurt the investigation. Ever since they told us that this afternoon, we're just going to keep our mouths shut."
The caretaker's house is believed to date to 1730, according to newspaper records. It was the last remaining structure on the 57-acre site. A March 22 fire destroyed the mansion on the grounds.