Two house fires in York County Tuesday morning left families homeless in Stewartstown and Manchester Township.
In Stewartstown, a home in the first block of South Main Street was badly damaged by fire, according to Eureka Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Ira Walker Jr.
Crews were called there about 7:45 a.m., according to the York County 911 Center.
The home is owned by Ron and Tamra Stiffler, who've lived there for 12 years. They are insured.
Walker said fire started in the second floor, from some sort of combustible material left too close to a heat source. A state police fire marshal ruled the blaze accidental, according to Walker.
He estimated damage at more than $200,000 and said the second floor and attic space of the home sustained major damage. No one was hurt.
Crews from about 10 fire departments responded to the scene and had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes, Walker said.
Smelled odor: Ron Stiffler was working in Baltimore when the fire started, but rushed home, he said.
He said his wife was making breakfast for their 8-year-old son, Ben, when she noticed an odd smell. She unplugged a heater on the first floor and opened a few windows, he said.
"Ten minutes later, there's black smoke coming down the stairs," he said.
The home is badly damaged, Ron Stiffler said.
"But all my family got out, and that's all that matters," he said.
Ron Stiffler said he spotted both family dogs and two of their three cats running around outside, spooked by the loud fire engines. But one cat was missing.
Tamra Stiffler's mother also lives there, and two other family members were visiting.
Ron Stiffler said their insurance company is making lodging arrangements, and local Red Cross workers provided the family with Comfort Kits, which include toiletries and other items.
Earlier fire: Just before 6:30 a.m., firefighters and police were called to a home in the 2700 block of Clearbrook Boulevard in Manchester Township, where the rear of the home was fully engulfed in flames, according to Northern York County Regional Police.
Deputy Fire Chief Joe Madzelan of Emigsville's Alert Fire Co. said no one was hurt.
Two people live in the home and have a son who's away at college, he said. The family is displaced.
"There's heavy damage to the home -- smoke, water and fire damage," Madzelan said.
A state police fire marshal determined the blaze started accidentally in the corner of the home's sun room, according to Madzelan.
However, it's not clear exactly how it started, he said.
One of the residents heard a crash just before spotting flames, the deputy chief said. It's possible one of the family's five cats knocked over a lamp, or perhaps the resident heard a window shattering from the fire's heat, he said.
All five cats are believed to have died in the fire, Madzelan said.
Crews had the blaze under control in about 15 minutes, but remained on scene until close to noon, doing cleanup and checking for hot-spots, he said. Eight other departments assisted at the scene.
Red Cross helps: The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting both the Stiffler family and the Manchester Township family, according to agency spokeswoman Kathy Smyser.
The Red Cross is willing to provide the families with "whatever they need," Smyser said, be it lodging, clothing, food or replacement medications. Staff will also help victims access other community resources, she said.
"We'll (make sure) they have a roof over their heads tonight and the start of a good plan for recovery," Smyser said.
To help victims of fire, make donations to the "Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps" campaign, online at www.firehurts.org or mailed to the York-Adams chapter at 724 S. George St., York 17401. All donations help local victims.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.