The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 12, 2008

Old home heavily damaged by fire

Owners manage to salvage some belongings

BEAVER SPRINGS -- A Beaver Springs family was displaced Monday after a fire tore through the attic and the second floor of their home along Route 235 at Back Mountain Road.

Owners of the home, Robert and Rose Trego, with the help of friends and fire crews carried out furniture, picture frames, decorations and other items from the first floor outside into the snow.

No one was home at the time of the fire, which was reported around 3:30 p.m.

Beaver Springs Deputy Chief Matt Wenrich said the fire seemed to have started on the middle of the third floor in a bathroom where a space heater was located. Wenrich said he believed the space heater may have caused the fire, but said more investigation was needed.

Mr. Wenrich explained, "This home was built in 1886, and the kind of construction used by the builders is called ¬źballoon frame,' which is very uncommon these days. A balloon frame house is built with interior walls that have air space between the walls and floors. Hence, when there is a fire, if you put water on the fire, it often jumps to other floors very rapidly.

"That's what probably happened to the home on Back Mountain Road. The air pockets between floors fanned the fire, making it hard to contain."

Two firefighters suffered injuries, Mr. Wenrich said.

"One fell on the ice and had a knee injury. Another fireman fell and hit his head," he said. Both were taken to area hospitals.

Mr. Wenrich would not identify the injured firefighters, or the hospitals to which they were taken.

A ladder truck from Dauntless Hook & Ladder Company, Selinsgrove, responded to get on top of the flames bursting through the roof to prevent the fire from spreading.

Wenrich said the attic and second level of the home were destroyed, but most of the items on the first floor were recovered. He could not provide a monetary amount of total damages.

Beaver Springs, Beavertown, Middleburg and McClure fire crews assisted at the scene. They left at 8:35 p.m., Mr. Wenrich said.

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