Smoke fills the air as firefighters douse flames that made their way to the second floor of a home in Hereford Township after a fire began outside and spread inside.
Volunteers from Seisholtzville and Hereford fire companies were dispatched to a report of a house fire at 242 Old Mill Road in Hereford Township shortly after noon last Friday. Alert neighbors who heard a popping noise looked outside to find the home on fire and called 911.
Nobody was home at the two-story structure at the time, but two dogs and three kittens were saved from the fire by two Hereford volunteer firefighters who happened to be in the neighborhood.
Hereford Deputy Chief Todd Sivko was working in the area and Assistant Chief Dean Marks was driving nearby when the call for help went out. Both responded immediately to the scene where they found a fire on the patio that was extending into the house.
Three kittens on the patio were taken out of harm’s way by the duo. The firefighters then broke into the house and freed two dogs from the spreading fire and smoky conditions.
The fire extended into a first-floor bedroom and second-floor storage area. Firefighters quickly responded and attacked the blaze from two sides using two 1¾-inch hose lines.
The incident was in a remote area of Hereford Township, near the Berks-Lehigh County line where water sources for fighting fires are far and few between. The nearest water source would have been about 1½ miles away. Several water-hauling, fire company tank trucks were dispatched to the scene.
Fast action by the firefighters kept the fire from spreading further and negated the need for the additional water. According to Seisholtzville Fire Chief Dwayne Bortz, only about 600 gallons of water was used to put the fire out.
The cause of the fire was investigated by Hereford Township Fire Marshal Harry Crossley. According to Bortz, the fire was determined to be caused by an electrical problem with a lamp on the patio.
There were no injuries reported. Bortz estimated the damage to be at least $50,000. The property is owned by Matthew Spaar.
“I want to commend all the firefighters from all companies for the quick stop and extinguishment,” Bortz commented.
Fire companies assisting at the scene included units from Eastern Berks, New Berlinville and Topton in Berks County; Alburtis and Macungie in Lehigh County, and East Greenville in Montgomery County.
Emergency medical services units responded from Bally, in Berks County; Macungie, in Lehigh County; and Upper Perkiomen in Montgomery County.
The Red Cross was also notified to provide aid for the victims.