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Inferno leaves man homeless

By Staff | Jan 2, 2013

MONTGOMERY – Just two days before Christmas, Ronald Crawford lost everything he owned when an early morning fire Sunday destroyed his home on Pinchtown Road.

Crawford was awakened by the fire and managed to escape his first-floor bedroom unharmed through his front door about 3:15 a.m., Clinton Township Fire Chief Todd Winder said.

Three volunteer firefighters suffered minor injuries in the township blaze, which has been ruled accidental, Winder said.

The incident initially was dispatched as a bedroom fire believed to be out, but when firefighters arrived on the scene at 1974 Pinchtown Road, flames were shooting from two windows, Winder said he was told.

The first fire officer on the scene immediately called for additional firefighters and equipment, bringing resources from Montgomery, Washington Township, Muncy Area, Watsontown and South Williamsport.

“It was a very labor-intensive blaze,” Winder said.

“The fire spread from the bedroom up an interior stairwell, through exterior walls and out onto the porch roof,” Winder said.

“It was a very difficult fire to fight. Once it got into the walls, it went everywhere,” he said.

Crawford, who escaped in his bare feet and night clothes, immediately was put inside the back of an ambulance, where he could keep warm as firefighters fought the blaze, which took two hours to bring under control, Winder said.

One Clinton Township firefighter was treated at Muncy Valley Hospital for smoke inhalation and later released, Winder said. Two other firefighters, one from Washington Township and another from Montgomery, were treated at the scene for minor injuries, Winder added. Their identities were not released.

Winder estimated structural damage at $90,000 and damage to contents at an additional $30,000 to $50,000.

Crawford, who now is staying with relatives, has fire insurance, Winder said.

Investigators said the cause of the fire has been ruled accidental, but Winder declined to elaborate.