Two children treated after Franklin Co. mobile home fire

August 09, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Fire ripped through this home at 4634 Duffield Road in Franklin County, Pa., on Tuesday.
By Jennifer Fitch/Staff Writer

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Two children were treated at area hospitals for smoke inhalation and injuries suffered in a mobile-home fire Tuesday morning near the intersection of Duffield and Mont Alto roads in Guilford Township, Pa., according to fire officials and the children's father.

Dennis Charles Rexrode said his 4-month-old daughter, Aliyah, was taken to Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital, and his son, Caiden, 5, was taken to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown.

By 4:30 p.m., Aliyah and Caiden had been treated and released, according to hospital officials.

Rexrode said he was getting ready to leave the 4634 Duffield Road home for a class when he heard Caiden yelling for his "pappy," the boy's grandfather, shortly before 9 a.m.

"I walked in the hallway and saw nothing but orange (flames) and smoke coming up," Rexrode said.

Rexrode ran outside the home and saw his girlfriend, Brittany Magruder, kick out an air-conditioning unit to escape a bedroom with Aliyah. Rexrode's father, Dennis Carl Rexrode, also was outside the home.

Rexrode said he ran around the house and heard Caiden whimpering in a front bedroom. He said he jumped through a window, grabbed the boy and handed him to someone outside.

"I hopped in there glass and all. ... From the time I was trying to find my children, I wasn't focused on anything else," Rexrode said.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Frank Hershey was investigating the cause of the fire, which Mont Alto (Pa.) Fire Chief Dan Reed said started in the living room.

The double-wide mobile home, which is a total loss, had a large addition on the back. Reed said the varying construction methods created a "huge challenge," due, in large part, to wall pockets where the fire could build momentum.

"I instructed the personnel they were not to enter the building ... until the fire was out," Reed said, noting that the floor collapsed during salvage operations.

Reed requested a helicopter to transport Caiden to a burn center from the scene, but inclement weather grounded the helicopter.

In addition to Mont Alto, responding fire departments included Fayetteville, Franklin, New Franklin, South Mountain, Marion, Waynesboro and Buchanan Valley inPennsylvania. TheFranklin County Air Unit and several ambulances also responded.

"Everyone did a fantastic job," Reed said.

Crews brought the fire under control in 20 minutes, Reed said. A few firefighters were treated at the scene for problems associated with heat and smoke, he said.

The fire chief contacted the American Red Cross of the Cumberland Valley to assist the family, who said they lost everything. Reed said a dog was missing after the blaze.

Emily Morris and Justin Elkins, who live nearby, said they heard a commotion and soon realized the fire was at the Rexrodes' home. Both said their minds quickly turned to the family members.

"Are the babies OK?" Morris said of her first thought.

The property is owned by Dennis Carl and Kimberly Rexrode, who have home insurance, according to their son.

Kimberly Rexrode returned home after the fire started. Neither she nor her son could recall whether the home's one smoke alarm activated.

— Staff Writer Dan Dearth contributed to this story.

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