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Fire damages Blue Ridge Summit home

June 19, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - Mike Delphy's four children were downstairs watching a movie and his mother was asleep in her first-floor bedroom when he heard the upstairs smoke detector sounding at 6 p.m. Sunday.

He saw and smelled smoke upstairs at the 15380 Jacobs Church Road home and remembered the oxygen tanks that aid his 80-year-old mother's breathing.

"All I could think of was, 'My God, the oxygen is going to blow up. We've got to get out of here,'" he said 45 minutes later as he watched 40 to 45 firefighters attempting to contain the fire to a second-floor bedroom.

The rest of the house sustained water, heat and smoke damage, Blue Ridge Summit Fire Chief John Fleagle said.

Delphy believes he lost one of his two cats in the fire but is grateful none of the family members was upstairs when the fire started. He is also thankful he was able to help his mother out of the house.

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"Usually she uses a walker or a wheelchair, but I just grabbed her and pulled her out," he said.

Firefighters were on the scene for almost three hours. The cause was determined to be an electrical problem within a window air conditioner, Fleagle said.

"We saw flames where the air conditioner is," Delphy said.

Built in 1951, the two-story, wood-frame house is covered in white siding and is just below the railroad tracks that cross Pa. 16 in Blue Ridge Summit.

Firetrucks and ambulances temporarily snarled traffic on Pa. 16 that area, but crews were able to keep one lane of traffic open while responders remained on the scene. The firefighters and emergency medical technicians hailed from Blue Ridge Summit, Waynesboro, Fountaindale, Emmitsburg and the Franklin County (Pa.) Air Unit.

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