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A Conewago Township fire displaced a family of 12 and killed six cats and kittens Wednesday afternoon, according to Strinestown Community Fire Co. Chief Frosty Wertz.

The blaze, at 5735 Susquehanna Trail North, was pointed out by a passerby to the fire company at its station one block south, Wertz said.

"Are you all going to the house fire up the street?" asked a man walking by to a firefighter out the front of the station at around 1:20 p.m., the chief said.

They hadn't been, as no one yet had called it in to 911, so they geared up and headed out. They discovered they guy had been right — smoke was spreading from the house when they got there, even though there were no visible flames, Wertz said.

He immediately called in a second alarm for manpower, to account for the cold and the fact there were no hydrants around.

No humans were hurt in the blaze; the two adults and 10 kids between the ages of 6 and 19 were all out of the home at the time, the chief said. But cats and kittens up in the top floor of the house died from the smoke the streamed up there, he said.

Wertz said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but there's no reason to believe it's suspicious.

He said the fire didn't gut the house, but it did serious damage the the room in which it started, as well as a few others.

— Reach Sean Cotter at scotter@yorkdispatch.com.

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