Main Street row home catches fire

By on July 25, 2012

By: TIFFANY WOODALL Review Staff, Staff Writer

A PPL worker inspects the power lines connected to the row home during Friday's Main Street blaze. (Photo by Deana Reider)

Flames engulfed the middle unit of a three-unit row home building Friday morning at 115 W. Main St., Ephrata.

According to Chief Allen Pettyjohn, Pioneer Fire Company was dispatched at 7:59 a.m. July 20 to battle the blaze. One man, resident Derek Fritz, 56, was transported to Ephrata Community Hospital for smoke inhalation and later released.

"It was pretty much knocked down in about 20 minutes," said Pettyjohn. "We marked it as under control and we knew it was out for sure at 8:43 a.m."

Pettyjohn said the units on either side also suffered smoke damage; one of them, 117 W. Main, is the office of Attorney A. Anthony Kilkuskie.

"When we got there, the front was fully engulfed," said Pettyjohn. "Fire was coming out of the downstairs living room window, and then that had caught the porch roof on fire."

The cause of the fire is unknown, he said, and the incident is under investigation.

Chief William Harvey of the Ephrata Police Department said that families who were displaced by the fire were able to stay with relatives in the area.

Pettyjohn said the fire is still under investigation as of Tuesday afternoon and the damage estimate is not yet known. Harvey said it being treated as accidental, not suspicious.

Kilkuskie was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

The need for manpower and equipment resulted in responses from several local fire companies, in addition to police and ambulance, said Harvey. Lincoln, Akron, Reamstown and Stevens fire companies assisted at the scene, along with Ephrata and Reamstown ambulances. Rothsville Fire Department was on stand-by.

Harvey noted the "fabulous teamwork between police, fire and ambulance and the rapid recovery" as "another reason why the Ephrata area is a wonderful place to live." More FIRE, page A17

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