2-alarm fire guts garage, damages home in Alsace

Homeowner managed to escape unharmed

ALSACE TWP., Pa. - Fire officials are crediting the quick-thinking of an Alsace Township man for helping to prevent much of his home from going up in flames.

"Luckily, he kept everything closed until we got here," said Chief Wendy Becker, Alsace Manor Fire Company. Normal people, when their house starts on fire, they run out. They want to get out of the house, so they leave everything open."

Crews were dispatched shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday to the 100 block of Beacon Hill Road for the report of heavy fire in the attached garage of a two-story home.

"It was amazing," said Jim Spies, a neighbor. "As bad as that garage was cooking. I mean it was burning. Smoke way up past the treetops."

"When I got on location, along with a state police helicopter, we had a pretty good working fire," Becker said. "Most of the garage was already all underway with the fire going."

Fire officials quickly struck a second alarm to summon additional manpower to the scene. Crews also established at least one remote fill-site to provide water for the fire.

"We have limited water up here in the hills, so we did call in extra manpower and extra tankers to put a stop to the fire," Becker said. "We had 11 departments here... mostly because of the tanker response."

The homeowner told WFMZ's Amanda VanAllen that he was the only one home at the time the fire started and was able to escape unharmed, although his neighbors initially feared he was trapped inside.

"Jim kept saying, 'He's in there,'" said neighbor Gloria Monde. "He just went in there with that tractor. Then, all of a sudden there was these flames, and we didn’t know where he was."

The homeowner said he's upset and frustrated, but added that the house is "just a material thing."

A state police fire marshal is helping Alsace Manor's fire chief with the investigation. One possible cause they're considering is the homeowner's lawnmower.

"The property owner did just finish mowing the grass and put the tractor away," Becker said.

Firefighters still battling hotspots in Alsace Township. Homeowner who was inside is safe, called his home "just a material thing" @69News

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