Red Lion fire chief: Two-alarm fire displaces 8, injures firefighter, kills pets


A firefighter suffered minor injuries and a dog and two cats died early Wednesday morning during a two-alarm fire that damaged two houses and displaced eight people in Red Lion.

Crews were called to the first block of South Charles Street in the borough at about 1 a.m., and a second alarm was called in just a few minutes later. Red Lion Fire Chief Joseph Yahnke said that when firefighters arrived, one house in particular was heavily on fire, with flames coming out the front and side windows.

Chad McWilliams, owner of that home where the fire started, said he woke up his wife and three children - a two-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old - to escape the fire. He caught all four as they jumped from a second-floor window.

All escaped uninjured, but the family's dog did not make it out of the fire, he said. The home was completely destroyed, he said.

Yahnke said he didn't know what the monetary damage done to the homes was, but said neither was livable. The three kids and five adults in total were displaced, he said. The two cats that died were in the home that was not McWilliams'.

One firefighter fell through the home's first floor into the basement and suffered minor injuries, Yahnke said. He said the firefighter was not from Yahnke's department, but declined to say what department the injured firefighter was from. He said the firefighter was taken to the hospital and was quickly released.

Yahnke deferred the release of the cause, manner and value of monetary damage to the state police fire marshal, but he said it's unlikely that the blaze was the result of any foul play.

"I do not have a reason to believe it's suspicious," the chief said.