Mifflinburg fire leaves 2 families homeless

The rear of a Chestnut Street home sustained extensive damage in a Monday morning fire.

MIFFLINBURG — Three adults and six children were displaced after smoke and flames ripped through a two-family home Monday morning in Mifflinburg.

Andrew Schnure, an assistant chief with the Mifflinburg Hose Company, said the fire broke out at around 8 a.m. Monday at 111-113 Chestnut St. The property is owned by David Grenoble and rented by two different families.

Schnure said the fire was initially called in by Mifflinburg ambulance staff whose spotted the fire as their station is located across the street from the home.

“On the side that burned, the 113 side, there was a husband, wife and four children,” Schnure said. “The wife and three of the children were home. They got out fine.”

He said the woman had noticed the electricity in the home kept turning off and on, and then saw the back porch was in flames.

“When I got there, I initially called a second alarm due to the time of day and manpower issues,” Schnure said. “I walked around to the back of the house… The entire back of the structure, pretty much both sides, was heavily engulfed in fire.”

It took firefighters 30 to 40 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

“When our first engine showed up, they ran a large-diameter hose from the fire hydrant at second street to the house,” Schnure said. “They got a pretty good stop on the fire at that point.

“A second line went to the second floor (of the house), where (the fire) was already advancing inside the 113 side, the second level also,” he continued. “(Firefighters) worked themselves to the attic. Our truck crew got a hole in the roof to ventilate it.”

Schnure said a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal was on scene, but was unable to determine the cause of the fire due to the property sustaining extensive damage.

“It definitely started on the back porch area, in the area of the panel box,” Schnure said.

He said the family of six that lived in the 113 side of the property has been displaced, along with a mother and two children who lived in the 111 Chestnut St. half of the home.

Schnure believed the residents of 111 Chestnut St. would be able to salvage some personal items. He said Grenoble had insurance, but the tenants did not. The families are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Mayor David Cooney issued a statement via social media which stated a known but unidentified man was going around Mifflinburg claiming to be collecting money for the fire victims. The man was making false claims that the Red Cross was not assisting the victims.

“The man said he would be accepting donations and also dropping off donation jars at local businesses,” Cooney said. “Please do not give any money to this individual or allow him to host a donation jar at your place of business.”

Cooney said the man attempted to pull a similar scam after another recent fire, with no intention of turning the money over to fire victims.

Anyone who comes in contact with the man seeking donations should contact police.

Schnure said firefighters were on scene for more than two hours Monday morning. He also noted that Monday’s fire was the latest in a series of fires and crashes the department has been dispatched to over the last several weeks.

“We have a great, great group of guys,” Schnure said. “We are very fortunate to have a large group of guys… We continue to have new people wanting to join on a regular basis.

“These guys in this department, they never quit,” he said. “I’m proud to be one of the leaders of these guys we have. The community is so fortunate.”

He also offered thanks to a number of neighboring departments which assisted with Monday’s fire, including Lewisburg, New Berlin, West End, Milton, Penns Creek, Middleburg and Kratzerville.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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