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Fire leaves Greencastle family homeless

December 22, 2006|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania State Police trooper on routine patrol spotted a fire Thursday that heavily damaged an Antrim Township house, leaving three people without a home for the holidays.

The fire at the home of Donald and Sharon Nolan of 3348 Filer Road was called in to Franklin County Communications at 12:33 p.m. by Trooper Ryan Kemerer, who said he saw fire around the chimney and peak of the roof. No one was home at the time, he said.

"We'll probably have some place to stay" for Christmas, Donald Nolan said as he watched firefighters try and put out the fire, which had gotten into the walls of his house. "I'm not sure right now."

"We hate to see something like that happen this time of year to a family," said Mike Luger, deputy fire chief of the Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. He said the Red Cross was called in to assist the Nolans.

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State Police Fire Marshal Trooper Jeffrey Sarver said the fire appeared to have originated in a first-floor wood stove. No one had been in the house since about 9 a.m., Sarver said.

Nolan said his wife had put wood into the stove and turned it down before leaving the house. He and his son, Donald II, had left the house for their jobs several hours before the fire.

"The fire wasn't that bad when I got home," said Nolan, who works at Jerr-Dan Corp. in Greencastle. "I kept trying to go inside to tell (firefighters) where to go."

A dog and cat escaped the fire, but Nolan said two cats were missing. Luger said later that the cats were found alive.

Sarver said the vinyl-sided two-story wood-frame house appeared to be more than a century old and was of balloon construction, meaning there were no fire stops in the frame to keep fire from spreading up the walls.

Flames were exposed as firefighters pulled away the siding, an older layer of siding underneath and the original wooden walls. The west end of the house was heavily damaged by the fire, and the rest of the house had smoke and water damage, Luger said.

Firefighters were at the scene for about five hours, Luger said. Greencastle was assisted by firefighters from Waynesboro, Mercersburg and St. Thomas in Pennsylvania, and Maugansville, Longmeadow and Halfway in Maryland, he said.

Air 10 from Chambersburg, Pa., provided air tanks, and Rehab 255 handed out food, drinks and other assistance to the firefighters, Luger said.

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