The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 23, 2012

Families in Kratzerville, Point Township lose houses

KRATZERVILLE — A pair of house fires just hours apart Monday forced two families to flee their homes and sent one person to the hospital.

A Kratzerville man and his wife survived a Monday afternoon fire, but were displaced after the fire burned out of control inside their home on Hazelwood Drive. The house is believed to be a $250,000 loss.

One of the homeowners, Jerry Hazelwood, was taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he was being treated for smoke inhalation, said Selinsgrove Deputy Fire Chief Don Weirick. Hazelwood’s wife, Janice, accompanied him to the hospital, Weirick said.

Earlier Monday, four people were displaced after a mobile home caught fire near Route 11 in Point Township.

Traci Bordner, 35, and her 3-year-old son Brayden Bingaman were watching cartoons just before 10 a.m. at their home in Witmer’s Mobile Home Park when she smelled smoke coming from the bathroom. Her fiance, Ryan Bingaman, 31,was also home, and all three escaped to safety. They also have a 10-year-old son, Hunter.

The Kratzerville fire began in an attached garage, then spread to the home. Also living in the house were Hazelwood’s son and his fiance. Weirick did not know if they were home when the fire broke out.

A family dog survived the fire, and the family was able to rescue a pet frog from the basement.

The house is at the top of a steep hill just outside of Kratzerville and the only way to the house was a quarter-mile winding, narrow dirt road.

“We got first call about 12:30,” Weirick said. “But we had some challenges here. First, the road to this house is very narrow, making it difficult to get our fire engines up here. And, we had to run some hoses all the way down this winding road.”

Another difficultly was the day of the week.

“It just seems like on Mondays, fewer volunteers are available,” Weirick said. “Luckily, we had fire personnel from nine companies assisting us, which was great.”

When Weirick and his team arrived, “the garage was fully engulfed, flames were shooting out and then the house caught on fire,” he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

It took about two hours to completely put out the blaze and all of the interior hot spots.

The garage burned to the ground, but the house was still standing after the fire was put out.

“But considering the smoke and water damage, I’d have to wonder how they could salvage anything,” Weirick said.

Weirick said that one bedroom at the far end of the house away from the garage probably had the least damage. “If they can take anything away from this fire, it’s probably in that room. It was the Jerry and Janice’s bedroom, I understand,” Weirick said.

Red Cross was on hand to help. Assisting the Selinsgrove Fire Department were fire and rescue personnel from Kratzerville, Kreamer, Shamokin Dam, Sunbury, Hummels Wharf, New Berlin, Middleburg and Mifflinburg

At the Route 11 fire in Point Township, Bordner said she went to investigate the smoke in the bathroom and saw flames.

“We heard the alarms go off then,” she said. “I ran over to the neighbor’s house and told them to call 911.”

One neighbor told Bordner she heard a “pop-bang” sound just before the smoke started pouring out of the home, Bordner said.

Bingaman said the mobile home was a severely damaged, and the family will not be able to return to the home.

The fire was contained quickly, and the home had smoke and water damage, said George Geise, a lieutenant with the Tuckahoe Fire Company. Firefighters were forced to smash out the home’s windows to release some of the thick smoke that filled the residence.

Geise would not estimate how much damage was done to the home.

The department isn’t sure what caused the fire yet, but Bordner said it could either be the home’s electrical system, which has been giving the family trouble recently, or a tart burner that was kept in the bathroom.

Geise said the cause could have been electrical, although he was not sure what started the blaze.

This is the second home the family has lost in the past decade, Bordner said. The family’s previous home — in the same mobile home park — burned down in the early 2000s, when candles caught the structure on fire, Bordner said.

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