When East Prospect Fire Chief Jerry Mack arrived at the scene of a fire-engulfed Lower Windsor Township house about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, he quickly determined three important facts.
First, heat from the two-alarm blaze was setting off ammunition inside the vacant home on Manor Road, he said. Second, there were propane bottles in the basement that could possibly explode in extreme heat.
And third, flames had already engulfed the house.
Because of the risk, Mack said he directed arriving firefighters to battle the blaze from outside only, known as an exterior attack.
Also, he said, part of the building had collapsed due to fire damage.
It took area fire crews about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control, according to Mack, who at the scene said it appears the structure is a total loss.
No one was hurt battling the blaze.
Built his home: Jessie Kline, who co-owns the property at 1900 Manor Road, sat on the back bumper of an SUV while firefighters tried to save his former five-bedroom home.
"I built that house myself ... in 1982," Kline said.
Behind the house is a scrap yard, and Kline said the entire property — including the house — comprises Salvage Management Inc.
Kline, who is president of Salvage Management, said the property was about to be sold. He's unsure whether Tuesday's fire has affected the pending sale.
It is located on Manor Road, not far from the intersection of Gun Club Road.
Despite no one living in the house, Kline and his family members still kept most of their belongings inside, he said.
"It was totally furnished," he said. Everything inside was likely destroyed.
Fast-moving fire: Kline, who is dealing with a medical issue, said he usually stops in at the property to keep an eye on things, and is thankful he wasn't inside the house when the blaze started.
"I've never seen nothing burn that fast," he said. "Usually I go in there and lay down (to rest)."
Crews ran a line from a hydrant on Route 124 to get water to the scene, and also drew water from nearby Cabin Creek, Mack said.
A state police fire marshal has been asked to investigate and determine what caused the blaze, according to Mack.
Not suspicious: "There is no reason to think it is suspicious at this time," he said.
Because of Tuesday's oppressive heat and humidity, firefighters were rotated out frequently to give them time to cool down, according to Mack.
The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross provided canteen service at the scene for emergency workers, he said.
Assisting East Prospect Fire Co. at the scene were first responders from Red Lion, Windsor, Craley and Yorkana.
To help victims of fire, make donations at redcross.org, or send contributions to the York-Adams chapter, 724 S. George St., York 17401.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.