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Basement wiring sparks fire at Pa. home

March 09, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, PA. - Wiring in a basement sparked a house fire Wednesday that left a family of four homeless, according to a fire official.

A woman and several children fled the home and reported the fire using a neighbor's phone at 11:56 a.m., Blue Ridge Summit Fire Chief John Fleagle said.

He said the house at 13451 Sunrise Drive, owned by Antietam Realty, was rented by Keith Ditzler and family.

The split-foyer house was a "total loss," Fleagle said.

Sgt. Vernon Ashway, a fire marshal with the Washington Township Police Department, was called to the scene to investigate the cause about two hours after the fire started.

Ashway did not return phone calls Wednesday, but Fleagle said the cause was determined to be electrical.

"It was a quick-burning fire," Fleagle said.

Firefighters "weren't able to do an interior attack because the roof had collapsed," Fleagle said.

The 10 to 15 firefighters used ladder trucks and water from a hydrant two streets away. Electricity was shut off at 1:15 p.m.

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Neighbors said it was the third fire on the street in about two years.

Representatives of the American Red Cross assisted the family with securing temporary housing, said Fleagle, who did not know if the family had renters' insurance.

Responding departments included Fountaindale, Thurmont, Mont Alto, Raven Rock and Waynesboro with ambulances from Waynesboro and Thurmont.

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