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A two-alarm fire Sunday evening that left a Penn Township home almost completely gutted started when the gas grill on the back porch exploded, according to the fire chief and the homeowner.

Crews responded to reports of a grill fire about 5:39 p.m. in the first block of Collins Circle, and the second alarm was called in just a few minutes later.

Homeowner Donna Mayle said her daughter's family, her granddaughter's friends and two exchange students had just sat down to dinner when the grill right outside on the back deck detonated.

"The grill just exploded," she said.

Fortunately, no one was hurt, she said — all 10 people ran out the front door to safety.

Penn Township deputy fire chief Jason Cromer said grills do start fires such as this from time.

"They're flamable objects," he said. "It does happen."

For that reason, fire departments recommend people keep their grills off their decks and a ways away from their homes.

The deputy chief said there was no monetary damage assessment available yet, but the house was a near-total loss.

No one was injured fighting the fire, he said.

— Reach Sean Philip Cotter at scotter@yorkdispatch.com.

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