Flames and smoke erupt from a home at 3731 Layfield Road in Upper Hanover Township Wednesday morning as firefighters drag hoses toward the home to prepare to fight the blaze.
A family of 11 was left homeless on Wednesday morning when a fire severely damaged their residence at 3731 Layfield Road (Route 663) in Upper Hanover Township.
Pennsburg firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at 8:10. According to Pennsburg Chief Scott Seip, who was first at the scene, “heavy smoke was pouring from the rear of the building” when he arrived. As he exited his vehicle, flames broke through the first-floor windows of the two-story dwelling.
Seip called for additional fire companies for tank trucks and additional manpower immediately after his arrival.
Members of the family who were at home at the time the fire broke out were gathered by the driveway awaiting help. They reported that everybody was out of the house.
Firefighters responded quickly and attacked the fast-moving fire with hand-held hose lines from the front and rear of the building. Although heavy smoke was belching from every opening throughout structure, they were able to contain the blaze to the first floor.
Firefighters, some using ladders from the outside and others wearing air packs from the inside, ventilated the second floor of the building, allowing the life-threatening noxious fumes and heat to escape.
A water “drop-site” using a 3,000-gallon portable tank, was set up on Layfield Road in front of the home to allow fire company tankers to dump their water and leave the scene to refill.
The home is owned by Steve and Evelyn Nolt who reside there with their nine children, ages 2 to 22. Upper Hanover Fire Marshall Jeff Ashman offered to contact the Red Cross to assist the family with temporary housing and food vouchers, but the family assured him that neighbors and members of their church, Indian Creek Mennonite Church in Franconia Township, would help them through the crisis.
The fire apparently started behind a clothes dryer on the first floor. According to Ashman, “The fire was accidental and electrical in nature.” The first floor of the home suffered damage from fire and water. Damage to the second floor was confined to heat and smoke. Ashman estimate the damage to be about $150,000. The cause of the fire was investigated by Ashman, State Police Fire Marshal David Eggleston and Montgomery County Detective Dave Fallon. Ashman added that the firefighters did a “whale of a job” bringing the fire under control quickly.
Fire police had Layfield Road closed from Kutztown and Knight roads to Hill Road until about 9:30 a.m.
In addition to the volunteers from Pennsburg Fire Company, about 75 additional volunteer firefighters and fire police assisted from Bally, Bechtelsville, Hereford, East Greenville, Green Lane, Milford, New Hanover, Red Hill and Sassamansville fire companies.
|Donations to help the Nolt family can be made through Indian Creek Mennonite Church, 637 Harleysville Pike, Telford, Pa. 18969.
Emergency medical units from Upper Perkiomen Valley, Green Lane and Trappe responded along with canteen units from North Penn Goodwill.
Standing by for Pennsburg Fire Company were units from Quakertown and Upper Salford fire companies.