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Former inn burns

family homeless

February 23, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

Welsh Run Fire Slideshow

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- A 200-year-old former inn was destroyed Monday during a fire that left a family homeless.

A caravan of firetrucks lined up several thousand yards to deliver water to those spraying water on the structure at 11020 Mercersburg Road (Pa. 416). The fire first melted vinyl siding, then consumed weatherboard to reveal original logs below.

MMP&W Fire Chief Dusty Stoner said the first people to arrive found the first floor of the single-family home engulfed in fire. Firefighters tried to go inside but decided the building was not stable.

"I'm not losing guys," Stoner said.

A Marion (Pa.) firefighter suffered burns to his face, and was treated at an area hospital and released, according to Marion Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Jerry Houpt.

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Donna Brammer and her three children safely evacuated the house before firetrucks arrived, according to neighbor Richard Hade.

"We are providing services to the family in the form of shelter and other tangible items," said Allen White, emergency services director for the Franklin County (Pa.) Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Four people were left homeless by the fire, he said.

Hade said the property served as an equestrian facility known as Circle B Farms, which hosted horseback riding camps in the summer. The property is near the intersection of Pa. 416 and Garnes Road.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jeff Sarver said he believes the fire started in a first-floor woodstove.

Firefighters were on the scene for several hours as they battled strong winds and lack of available water. Stoner had difficulty getting enough firefighters on the first alarm.

"With everything being volunteer, you get what you get," Stoner said.

Allegheny Power did not arrive to turn off the electricity until 2 p.m. Before that, a live wire could be seen re-igniting the second floor and what remained of the roof.

Once known as the Green Tree Hotel, the house was constructed in 1807, according to the 1868 Beer's Atlas of Franklin County. It stood along what was then known as Hagerstown Pike.

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