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Fire disrupts move

A family was visiting the one-story house they had partially moved into ehrn they saw smoke coming up through the floorboards.

A family was visiting the one-story house they had partially moved into ehrn they saw smoke coming up through the floorboards.

March 04, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

A Clear Spring family's chance visit to a Pinesburg house into which they planned to move this weekend likely saved the home from being destroyed by fire.

Flames were shooting up through the walls of the house when 15 firefighters from Williamsport, Clear Spring, Maugansville, Halfway and the Washington County Air Unit reached the blaze at 14724 Clear Spring Road at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, Williamsport Fire Chief Tim Ammons said.

Charles Long Jr. said his family - including his wife, Mindy, and their two teenage sons - were preparing to move into the one-story vinyl-sided home, which is owned by Long's brother, Robert Long, when the fire broke out.

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The Longs already had moved most of their belongings into the house when they stopped by the home mid-morning Monday to check on a sump pump in the basement, Charles Long said.

That's when he saw smoke coming up through the floorboards near the walls on the first floor. Long immediately began to throw garbage bags filled with his family's clothing from the house onto the snow-covered front lawn - tossing three bags outside before the smoke became too thick to stay in the house, he said.

"The smoke was so bad that I couldn't hardly breathe. The whole house filled up with thick smoke even before the smoke detector went off," said Charles Long, who asked a neighbor to call for help.

"It's a good thing we got here when we did because (the fire) might have burned the house to the ground," Long said. "It burnt clear up through the inside of the walls."

Overloading wiring leading to the basement sump pump sparked the blaze, which caused about $5,000 worth of smoke and fire damage, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Allen Gosnell.

Firefighters doused the flames and vented heat from the blaze through a hole in the home's roof. They had the fire under control in 21 minutes, Ammons said.

Firefighters used minimal water to control the fire, he said. Smoke caused most of the property damage.

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