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Firefighters battle flames, heat in York County

By Ted Czech, York Daily Record, Pa.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 08--Firefighters in York County battled two fires -- and the unforgiving heat -- Tuesday in Fairview and then in East Manchester townships.

In the first fire, flames broke out inside a Fairview Township mobile home, reducing it to a pile of smouldering rubble. A fire official said a malfunctioning furnace was to blame.

The second fire later that morning saw a backfiring car that was started inside a garage lead to a fire that consumed three vehicles, the garage, and part of the home in East Manchester Township.

Both fires were ruled accidental. Two people were displaced in the first fire and one in the second, officials said.

In both blazes, firefighters not only sought to extinguish the fires, but to keep themselves cool amidst the punishing heat.

"When you've got that gear on, it's even hotter," Joe Madzelan, a York Area United Fire and Rescue battalion chief, who responded to the East Manchester Township fire. "We rotate them (firefighters) as frequently as possible. ... The biggest thing is making sure we're not working them too long."

Three firefighters were treated at the scene of the East Manchester Township fire for heat exhaustion, Madzelan said.

Just before 7 a.m., firefighters responded to 423 Valley Road, Fairview Township for a mobile home on fire. Fairview Township Fire Co. public information officer Robert Timko said.

Because the mobile home was engulfed in flames, firefighters did not enter it, but worked to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading further, he said.

Newberry Township Police Officer Tim Dehoff identified a man standing near the fire as one of the residents, but said he was too "shook up" to talk about what had happened.

"They just had a new furnace installed," Dehoff said. "He heard some popping noises and the next thing he knew, the whole ceiling was on fire."

The man's wife had left before the fire started, Timko said. The man was not injured in the fire, he said.

About three hours later, firefighters responded to a fire at a home at 470 Park St., East Manchester Township.

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Firefighters battled the fire on several fronts, because flames had consumed two cars and a pickup truck inside the garage, the garage itself and part of the house.

Madezelan said later on Tuesday the homeowner had started up the pickup truck inside the garage and noticed it was "running rough."

"All of a sudden, there was a big flash of fire from under the hood," Madzelan said, "Then he saw fire running up the side of the wall."

The homeowner, who was the sole occupant of the home, was treated at the scene for stress related to the fire, and was then seen by members of the American Red Cross, Madzelan said. In addition, he did not have homeowner's insurance.

Contact Ted Czech at 717-771-2033.


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