Landlord Kevin Keeny arrived at the home he rents shortly after a fire broke out early Tuesday morning in Shrewsbury Township. Fire damage was limited to
Landlord Kevin Keeny arrived at the home he rents shortly after a fire broke out early Tuesday morning in Shrewsbury Township. Fire damage was limited to an upstairs bedroom, although there was extensive water damage to rooms below. (Bil Bowden photo)

Fire forced a Shrewsbury Township man to scramble onto the roof of a two-story farmhouse early Tuesday morning.

His wife was driven out onto a second-floor balcony by the fire, according to Shrewsbury Fire Chief Tony Myers.

She jumped to the ground, Myers said, but firefighters had to erect and climb a ladder to pluck the man to safety.

The couple -- identified by their landlord as Tom and Brenda Dickinson -- suffered scrapes and bruises, the chief said.

They were checked at the scene by paramedics and declined to be taken to the hospital, Myers said.

Firefighters were called to the 15000 block of Whitcraft Road just after 1 a.m., according to the chief.

A second alarm was called right away, although it turned out the extra manpower wasn't needed.

"We weren't sure how bad the fire was," Myers said, and there are no hydrants in the area.

1,000 feet of hose: Crews laid about 1,000 feet of hose from the burning home to a nearby pond and also used several tanker trunks to transport water, he said.

"The fire was knocked down pretty quick," Myers said, and was under control in about a half-hour.

The Dickinsons' two teenage children also were home when the fire started, he said. Both were on the first floor and were able to get out safely, he said.

The family was left homeless by the blaze, according to Myers, who said the rental home can be repaired.

"One bedroom on the second floor was destroyed, and another one was damaged by firefighting activities," he said. "The rest of the house has extensive smoke damage."

The home is owned by Kevin Keeny of New Freedom. On Wednesday morning he said he's waiting for his insurance company to determine a damage estimate.

Caused by candle? Fire crews continue to investigate, but think they've identified the cause of the blaze, which started in the second-floor bedroom of one of the teenagers, according to Myers.

"We believe a candle fell over onto a bed and ignited the mattress," he said.

Crews found smoke detectors inside, but determined they were inoperable, the chief said.

Firefighters remained on scene until about 4:30 a.m. to check for hot spots, do cleanup and investigate the fire's cause, Myers said.

The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross is helping the family with food, clothing and a place to stay, according to agency spokeswoman Kathy Smyser.

Assisting were fire crews from New Freedom, Stewartstown, Glen Rock and Maryland Line.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.