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No one seriously injured in three Pa. fires

July 06, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH and DAVE MCMILLION

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A father dropped his 21-month-old son from a second-story window to someone below, then jumped to escape a fire in the Borough of Chambersburg on Monday morning, according to a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal.

The father suffered some cuts on his leg, but neither person was seriously injured, Fire Marshal Jeff Sarver said.

The 4 a.m. fire at 465 Lincoln Way West was one of three reported Monday morning in Franklin County, Pa., according to a news release from the Franklin County 911 Center.

Firefighters also responded to 7970 Lincoln Way East in Greene Township and 4606 Coontown Road in Hamilton Township. One of those fires was started by illegal fireworks landing in a yard, Sarver said.

The Franklin County Chapter of the American Red Cross was providing services to 13 people displaced from their homes in the three fires, Emergency Services Director Allen White said.

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"Some had their own arrangements (for temporary housing). We provided for the rest," he said.

Sarver determined the 465 Lincoln Way West fire started accidentally in an outside electric panel. The two-story, wood-frame duplex with vinyl siding had two residents on the first floor, who were unharmed.

Scott Eisenhour, 27, who leases an apartment in the building, said he was awakened by someone ringing a doorbell. When he opened the door, he saw flames and smoke.

Eisenhour said he returned to the door with his son, Scott Eisenhour Jr., and thought about trying to escape the building through the doorway.

But the smoke and flames were overwhelming, so Eisenhour said he ran to a living room and kicked out a window.

Eisenhour said he convinced a passer-by to catch his son.

"If there was no one to catch him, I was pretty much jumping with him," Eisenhour said.

Eisenhour said he lowered his son as far as he could toward the man and dropped his son two or three feet.

"And then I leaped out that window," said Eisenhour, adding that he landed on his feet.

Eisenhour said he and his wife took his son to Chambersburg Hospital to be checked out and the boy is OK.

Bessie Overcash, 63, and her roommate, Michael Hicks, were awakened by someone pounding on the door and telling them to get out, according to Overcash's son, who did not want to be identified.

"We didn't find out who it was," he said of the person who alerted the residents.

Sarver said the smoke detectors were only activated after the door opened.

Fayetteville (Pa.) Fire Chief Bill Wishard said the fire at 7970 Lincoln Way East was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. The two-story, wood-frame house was almost completely engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived.

"People were out of the house. They got out," he said.

The closest fire hydrant was a mile to mile and a half away, Wishard said. Tankers were called from about 10 departments, he said.

"It does slow you down," he said of attacking a fire without a nearby hydrant.

Sarver said the Lincoln Way East fire started when illegal fireworks landed in the family of eight's dry yard.

"It torched the house completely," he said.

The aerial fireworks traveled horizontally from another property. The fire marshal is investigating who ignited them.

"They could be held criminally responsible. They weren't using them responsibly and set the yard on fire," Sarver said.

A neighbor woke up the residents, he said.

Sarver said the one-story rancher on Coontown Road was destroyed when its garage caught on fire. The blaze started in overheated bags of mulch, a grill or both.

"This is a really dangerous time right now," Sarver said of the dry conditions.

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