The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 23, 2014

Investigators: Dehumidifier likely sparked Selinsgrove house fire

SELINSGROVE — A Sunday afternoon fire that destroyed a Linda Lane home was accidental and likely caused by a dehumidifier, Dauntless Hook & Ladder Company Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Ulrich said this morning.

Home owner Rebecca Wilson was inside the house at 11 Linda Lane at about 3 p.m. when the fire erupted.

She escaped safely before firefighters from Selinsgrove, Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam, Middleburg, Freeburg, Kreamer, Kratzerville, New Berlin, Sunbury, Mifflinburg and Northumberland arrived.

State police fire marshal Kirk Renn examined the fire scene Monday morning and narrowed the cause to a dehumidifier in the basement. He was unable to determine if it was a dehumidifier or electrical malfunction.

Ulrich estimated Wilson’s loss at about $390,000.

Emergency responders encountered a problem when a hydrant wrench was broken as firefighters tried to remove a hydrant cap from a nearby hydrant on Linda Lane. The cap also broke.

Ulrich said they were unable to use that water hydrant, but two tankers were on scene providing water to quell the flames as firefighters tapped into another  hydrant on nearby Route 522.

That caused the department to use an extra 250 feet of hose and close Route 522 for about two hours, Ulrich said.  

“It never hampered fire fighting efforts,” Ulrich said.

The problem with the equipment does highlight the need for preventative maintenance, he said.

“It’s so important and the borough of Selinsgrove does a great job,” Ulrich said, not laying blame for the broken hydrant cap.

DH&L Deputy Fire Chief Don Weirick said its the first time in 24 years he’s witnessed a hydrant wrench break on the job. He said the department has others in supply.

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