The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 16, 2014

Pet cats and birds die in Danville house fire

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — A house fire Thursday at 109 Spruce St. has been ruled accidental by the Danville Fire Department.

The fire began at around 12:30 p.m. in a kitchen electrical outlet that a desktop computer was plugged into, according to Chief Chris Dickinson. None of the occupants of the house were home at the time of the fire, though the families two cats and two birds died in the fire.

Dickinson said the owner, Christine Fishburn, lived there with her son and boyfriend. He did not have names for either of the men. Fishburn returned to her house and saw it engulfed in flames, at which point she called 911, Dickinson said.

When firefighters brought out one of the cats, the son had to be restrained by emergency workers as he rushed toward the animal.

The wiring was of the old “knob and tube” style, said Dickinson, and the system’s age was a contributing factor to the fire. The family is staying with relatives in the area.

Fishburn declined to comment about the blaze.

The fire was under control as of 1:30 p.m., with crews checking for hot spots to ensure the fire would not flare up again. Firefighters cleared the scene at 3 p.m. Dickinson estimated the structure sustained about $85,000 worth of damage and speculated that the insurance company will just write off the property as a loss. Fishburn is insured against damages.

At the time of the fire’s start, smoke was pouring out of all of the house’s windows and scorch marks were visible around some of the window frames. Some of the awnings located above the windows fell off due to damage.

Because the cause of the fire was identified, the fire marshal will not be called to the scene, Dickinson said.

Responding to the scene was Danville Fire Department, Mahoning Township’s East End Fire Department, Catawissa Fire Department, Millville Fire Department, Bloomsburg Fire Department, Danville Ambulance, Danville Police, Mahoning Township Police and the Danville Fire Police.

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