Chief: Crack in chimney caused Hellam Twp. fire


No one was hurt Thursday morning when a chimney fire crept into the attic of a Hellam Township home, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage, a fire official said.

Crews were called to the 6200 block of Wantz Lane about 7:40 a.m. after someone in the home called 911 to report smoke in the attic.

A crack in the chimney allowed fire to get into the walls of the attic and then spread into the attic itself, Livesberger said.

"Due to the smoke and heat in the attic, (fire crews) had to cut a hole in the roof to ventilate it," he said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within the first 10 minutes, Livelsberger said.

"Early detection was a key factor in that (quick knockdown)," he said.

Repairs needed: The house sustained only minor structural damage, but it is unhabitable until repairs are made, he said, including replacing the attic wall closest to the chimney and the attic's studs and cross members.

Livelsberger estimated damage at $40,000 to $50,000.

Wantz lane is a short, no-outlet road, and the residents are all related, according to the chief.

Because there are no hydrants in the area, firefighters relied on tanker trucks to haul in water, according to Livelsberger.

"There's a big pond back there that we could have used, if necessary," he said.

Battling the blaze were fire crews from Hellam Township, Wrightsville and Mount Wolf, as well as personnel from York Area United Fire and Rescue, he said.

Companies that brought in tankers and other equipment came from Yorkana, Craley, Columbia, Maytown and Marietta, Livelsberger said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at