Farmer awakens neighbors as fire next door moves closer

August 10, 1999|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Ted Hazel and Rebecca Camp were awakened by a neighbor Tuesday morning to find the siding melting off their Antrim Township home.

The heat that was melting the vinyl cladding was from a fire next door that destroyed a barn belonging to Gary and Wilma Fix, of 13899 Grant Shook Road. Firefighters returned several times during the day when it rekindled.

A farmer "was banging on the door and woke us up," Hazel, of 13931 Grant Shook Road, said. "I took one garden hose and he took the other and we started wetting things down."

Wilma Fix said the farmer who woke up her neighbors did not wish to be identified.

Hazel said he left the house wearing nothing but shorts and had some burns on his chest. He said the farmer had a burn on his arm, but neither required hospital treatment.


"The heat was intense. I had to back off a couple of times," Hazel said. The heat from the barn fire, which he said was about 30 feet from his mobile home, caused the taillight lenses, plastic trim and mirror frames on two of his vehicles to melt.

"It melted all the siding on the front and one end" of the mobile home, he said.

The fire was called in at 5:44 a.m., according to Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. Chief Robert Ebersole. The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal was at the scene Tuesday afternoon to investigate the cause, he said.

"We don't have a clue yet" as to the cause, said Wilma Fix. She said the barn had no electricity.

"My husband had his business over there, but we were turning it into a garage," Wilma Fix said. Her husband is an electrical contractor. She said the barn contained tools and a 1988 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

"We're still trying to figure out what was in there as far as building supplies and other equipment," Ebersole said. He had no dollar estimate of damage for either the barn or Hazel and Camp's mobile home.

Ebersole said firefighters from Marion, Waynesboro and Mercersburg, Pa., assisted at the scene, along with units from Maugansville, Longmeadow and Halfway fire companies in Maryland. Firefighters were on the scene until about 11:30 a.m., but returned occasionally to douse hot spots.

Water to fight the fire was trucked in from a creek off Milnor Road, Ebersole said.

The barn fire was the third in Franklin County in the past month. On July 27 an aluminum and steel barn containing thousands of bales of hay burned at the Hissong Farmstead in Montgomery Township. On July 21 the wooden barn of Dale Burkholder in Peters Township was destroyed.

The Hissong fire was believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion. Exhaust from a tractor was blamed for the Burkholder fire.

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