A man was rescued from a porch roof by firefighters after a two-alarm blaze broke out in his Lancaster city rowhome Thursday morning.

Fire crews were dispatched to 252 N. Reservoir St. around 10:20 a.m.

City police Sgt. Richard Cosmore said a man put a clothes basket containing laundry on top of a stove and went upstairs.

When he came back, he saw a fire had started at the cooking top and spread to a wall.

The man was identified by his two roommates after the fire as Mike Ford, a computer technician in his late 20s or early 30s.

Ford broke a third-floor window with his hand and crawled out onto a rear porch roof to escape from the burning home, said city fire Capt. Ken Barton.

Firefighters Abe Harnish and Lt. Angel Sanchez erected a ladder and helped Ford down safely from the roof.

Ford suffered cuts to his hand but did not suffer from significant smoke inhalation, Barton said. He was treated at the scene.

A woman from 250 N. Reservoir St. also was treated for smoke inhalation, Barton said.

“The call was for a stove fire,” he said, “but when I was coming up to the fire there was a heavy column of black smoke two blocks out.”

Barton knew the fire was larger than a stove fire at that point and shortly thereafter called for a second alarm.

After crawling out from the window, Ford called 911 on his cellphone and then also phoned his roommates, Jeff Vasisko and Jonathan Farley — from the roof.

“I was at work and he called and said, ‘Our house is on fire and it’s burning down!’” said Vasisko, a 26-year-old computer technician.

Farley, 31, lives in the home but said he was also working away, at his car parts consultant job, when the fire broke out.

Vasisko and Farley were relieved their roommate wasn't seriously hurt.

“I’m glad everybody’s OK,” Vasisko said. “Property can be replaced.”

Ford told a reporter he lost some pets in the fire, but declined further comment after being released from EMS.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire at the brick home, one of the middle homes in a long row.

Barton estimated damage at $100,000 — $75,000 to the structure and $25,000 for loss of contents.

He said the house, owned by Jack Hess, sustained severe damage and that nearly all possessions were lost.

Four people displaced by the blaze are staying with relatives or friends, he said.

The home next door at 250 N. Reservoir St. incurred minimal smoke damage, Barton said. The other adjoining home at 254 N. Reservoir St. did not appear damaged.

Fire marshals were working to determine an official cause of the fire, but it appears after a preliminary investigation it will be accidental, Cosmore said.



Ryan Robinson is a police reporter and Voices columnist for Lancaster Newspapers. He can be reached at rrobinson@lnpnews.com or (717) 481-6032. You can also follow@RyanRobinsonLNP on Twitter.

Suggestions, corrections, clarifications, added information welcome

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