The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 18, 2013

Candle behind morning blaze that takes Ranshaw home

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— RANSHAW — “Careless candle burning” appears to be the cause of a two-alarm fire in Ranshaw Monday morning that destroyed a double home and damaged the homes beside it, though leaving no one injured.

Nearly 10 fire and emergency companies responded at about 8:26 a.m. to the structure fire at the three-story home of Janet Millard, 80, of 516-518 Webster St., according to Northumberland County Dispatch. Millard resided in the 516 side; the other side had been vacant for some time, according to neighbors.

The fire started in the second-floor stairwell outside of a basement kitchen in the old-fashioned home, said Chief Russell Feese of the Coal Township Fire Dept.

The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal also arrived at the scene to investigate. Costs of the damage are not known, Feese said.

The American Red Cross is assisting Millard at this time, Feese said.

A neighbor, Bob Kaleta, called in the fire, telling the Daily Item he saw the smoke when he went to get the morning paper on his front porch.

Kaleta said he ran to the house to get out Millard, whom he found throwing vase-fulls of water on the fire, which appeared to be coming from the basement.

The home next door at 514 Webster belongs to Christine Horoshock, 85, whom Kaleta’s wife Diane got out of the house and to the safety of Barbara and Rick Buehl’s home across the street.

Protecting the homes on either side of the burning structure became the priority for firefighters, who were called out of the home when fire broke through the roof and it began to collapse in.

Attacking the fire from both the front and back of the home, firefighters were able to contain the blaze in about 30 minutes. Responding to the blaze were fire companies of Coal Township, Brady, Shamokin, Kulpmont, East Cameron Township, Mount Carmel, 170 of Elysburg, Overlook and Trevorton as well as Area Ambulance Service EMTs. No professionals were injured.

George Gredzinski’s home at 520 Webster St. sustained some fire damage to some siding and the eaves of the roof, as well as interior smoke and water damage, Feese said. Gredzinski was not at home at the time, and a neighbor got his dog out of the burning house.

Horoshock’s home sustained water damage. Both homes were cleared for the occupants to return, Feese said.

Read the in-depth story in Tuesday's edition of the Daily Item. Follow reporter Evamarie Socha on Twitter: @ecsocha.