Fire destroys Warfordsburg farmhouse

January 05, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

A fire Tuesday night destroyed a 71-year-old farmhouse at 340 Cove View Lane, fire officials said.

Needmore, Pa., firefighter Robert Fleegle said heavy smoke was coming from all sides of the two-story oak house when he arrived at 9:15 p.m. The Needmore Fire Department called for additional tankers and manpower, bringing firefighters from six counties in three states.

A woman was treated at War Memorial Hospital in Morgan County, W.Va., for smoke inhalation.

Resident Mark Palmer said his grandfather built the house around 1939. It had been divided, and one side was rented for years, with the most recent occupants his mother and her husband, Wilma and George Valentine.

Palmer and his wife, Tammy, lived on the other side with their 20-year-old daughter, Kristin. Their son, Brian, is attending Shippensburg (Pa.) University, three years after returning from serving with the military in Iraq.

“I lived in it all my life, except for 10 years,” Mark Palmer said of the house.

Although the exterior walls remain, Fleegle said the home sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage.

“It’ll probably be a total loss,” he said.
Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the fire, but Fleegle said it appears to have started in a woodstove flue in the basement. Palmer said the smoke spread quickly.

“You don’t realize it until you’re in it,” he said.

Fleegle said the fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes. Firefighters started with an interior attack but had to withdraw to the outside.

“Some of the flooring and steps became too dangerous to remain inside,” he said.

A dog and a cat died in the blaze, and Palmer said a small black-and-white dog was missing.

Palmer said the American Red Cross was helping the family. Fleegle said donations are being accepted at Tower Bank locations and through the Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church at 12941 Buck Valley Road, Warfordsburg, PA 17267.

Fleegle said people with questions about donating clothes or items can e-mail him at

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