The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 27, 2013

House fire near Herndon kills 2 dogs and leaves family homeless

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— DORNSIFE —  A quick-moving fire Thursday evening destroyed the interior of a two-story house, killing two dogs and leaving a Northumberland County family of four homeless.

Renters Dale and Sarah Rice said they and their two children were safe as firefighters from 12 Valley companies battled the blaze at 1104 Otto Station Road in Jackson Township.

“They’re all fine,” said a clearly distraught Dale Rice, leaning against his car.

The family had three cats and two dogs. Firefighters found those two dogs dead inside the house.

It was not known as of deadline what might have happened to the cats.

Rice said he did not know how the blaze began.

“I wasn’t home when it started,” he said. But he said he was extremely grateful that everyone in his family survived.

He and his family will stay with relatives, Rice said.

More than 50 fire and rescue personnel fought the blaze, which Herndon Assistant Fire Chief Ron Hinkley said he thought might have started at the rear of the house.

“We were here within five minutes of getting the 911 call” at 5 p.m., he said.

Bright, red flames fully engulfed the rear of the home, the kitchen and a storage area by the time firefighters arrived.

The blaze rapidly moved through the house to the upper levels, Hinkley said.

“We may know more when a fire marshal comes here to assess the damage,” he said. “And maybe we can find out what started this.”

Bob Wolfe, of Herndon, who has owned the home for five years, said the property is insured.

“I found out about the fire when a next-door neighbor called me and said, ’Your house is on fire,’” he said.

A second alarm brought assisting personnel from fire departments in Sunbury, Dalmatia, Hickory Corners, Pillow, Trevorton, Lower Augusta, Lower Mahanoy, Berrysburg, Millersburg, Hummels Wharf and Shamokin Dam.

“We had the fire under control in about 30 minutes,” Hinkley said.

A hook and ladder was raised to the roof to extinguish flames that shot out from the second story.

Black smoke covered the area in an almost thick soup until about 6:30 p.m., when Hinkley declared the fire extinguished.

“We’ll check everywhere in the house for hot spots,” he said.

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