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Family of six left homeless after extensive fire

By Staff | Nov 23, 2018

PHILIP A. HOLMES/ Sun-Gazette A family of six, including a 10-year-old girl, was left homeless after a basement fire broke out at this home late Wednesday morning, Nov. 14 on Mechanic Street in Muncy. No one was injured, and the family’s six dogs all made it out.

MUNCY – A family of six was left homeless after their home on Mechanic Street sustained extensive damage in a fire late Wednesday morning on November 14.

“Everything’s ruined,” Greg Foltz said as the 45-year-old former truck driver looked at the damage to his home at 116 E. Mechanic St. that he bought in the summer 2017.

“Everything will have to go into the dumpster. We’ll have to start over,” said Foltz, who has been out of work since 2016 due to back injuries after 20 years of driving trucks.

However, his application to get disability was just recently approved, but he won’t start getting payments until next summer, he said.

“It is what it is. As long as no one died, that’s all that matters,” Foltz said.

His girlfriend, 46-year-old Jennifer Minnella, was the only one home when she saw smoke coming up through the floor in a front room while she was watching television on the first floor about 11:15 a.m.

She dialed 911 and safely escaped the home.

“There was fire visible from a basement window at the front of the house,” said Muncy Area Fire Chief James Michael, the first firefighter on the scene.

Firefighters donned self-contained breathing apparatuses and carried a hose through a back door to attack the fire, which, Michael said, originated in the basement, but quickly spread to the first and second floors as well as the attic, traveling up a stairwell and interior wall.

It took about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control, but another 40 minutes to get the fire out completely, Michael said.

“We’d open up the walls and find more fire,” he said.

Also left homeless by the fire was Minella’s mother, Jane; her two sons, Gregory Barger, 22, and Von Barger, 14; and Greg and Jennifer’s daughter, Angel, 10. The family’s six dogs all safely got out.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross was providing emergency assistance for the family. Foltz said he had no fire insurance.

A state police fire marshal was expected to be at the scene this morning to try and determine what caused the fire, which was believed to have caused $50,000 damage, Michael said.

In addition to Muncy Area, volunteer firefighters from Picture Rocks, Clinton Township, Pennsdale and Montoursville also responded to the fire.