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Fire forces Lairdsville couple from home

By Staff | Jan 8, 2020

LAIRDSVILLE As flames spread to the attic and a second-floor bedroom early last Saturday morning, Dennis and Debra Houseknecht along with their dog safely escaped their burning Franklin Township home, according to Lairdsville Fire Chief Glen Temple.

The fire at 521 Bartlow Road about two miles east of here broke out just after 5 a.m. and took about 20 minutes to bring under control, Temple said. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental.

“We used less that 2,000 gallons of water to put the fire out,” Temple said.

Houseknecht told fire officials that he was awakened by the smell of smoke. He alerted his wife and the two escaped through the front door with their dog.

“When firefighters arrived, we saw flames at a second-floor window and smoke was coming from the attic (out from under the eaves),” Temple said.

The fire originated in a first-floor ceiling, where a section of heated pipe to a wood stove ignited a partition, Temple explained. The couple has fire insurance, Temple said, adding that he estimated the damage to be between $40,000 and $60,000.

The Houseknechts are staying with relatives until they can find temporary housing until repairs to their home are completed.

In addition to Lairdsville, volunteer firefighters from Hughesville, Picture Rocks, Muncy Area and Unityville responded to the scene.