Flames rip through Williamsport home

October 30, 1997


Staff Writer

WILLIAMSPORT - A Washington County couple lost their home in an early-morning blaze on the grounds of the Potomac Fish & Game Club Wednesday, but no one was hurt, officials said.

Flames were shooting through the front door and windows when the first fire unit arrived, said firefighter Fred Cole of the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co.

The blaze at 617 White Pine Lane southwest of Williamsport had a good start before firefighters arrived at the home, firefighters said.


About 20 firefighters had the 7:05 a.m. fire under control by about 8:30 a.m., said Williamsport Engine Lt. Sam Horning. Firefighters continued working through the morning to ensure the fire wouldn't come back, he said.

The state fire marshal was called to investigate, Horning said. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Charles Gouker said he and his wife, Carla, lost almost everything in the fire.

The couple had left home at 6:30 a.m. to go to work at JRA Executive Air Inc. at the Washington County Regional Airport and were called back home by his father with news of the fire, Gouker said.

No one was home at the time of the fire, he said. The home had a smoke detector, which Gouker said he changed the battery in last weekend, when daylight savings time took effect.

Gouker said his father's girlfriend noticed smoke pouring out of the house when she was putting up the flag Wednesday morning at their home nearby.

The bedroom was still intact Wednesday morning, Gouker said.

Firefighters tried to salvage some of the Goukers' belongings by carrying hanging clothes and drawers of clothes out of the home and into the garage.

The garage and a shed near the side of the house were not damaged as of early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters tore holes into the side of the home to help put out flames in the wall and ventilate the smoke.

Gouker said he and his wife have used the house as a summer home for two years and made it their permanent home in July.

The couple has friends they can stay with, he said.

Water had to be pumped from the nearby Potomac River to help fight the fire, Horning said.

Also responding to the call were Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co., Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, Md., Inc., Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service, Washington County Emergency Air Unit and the Washington County Emergency Rehab Unit.

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