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Firefighter dies en route to West Manheim Twp. blaze

Christopher Dornblaser
717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser

A Hanover firefighter died responding to a West Manheim Township blaze Saturday morning.

A fire destroyed one half of a duplex on the 500 block of Pumping Station Road in West Manhiem Twp. Saturday morning.

Earl J. Shoemaker, 68, a member of Eagle Fire Company, was driving a rescue vehicle to the blaze at the 500 block of Pumping Station Road around 9:30 a.m. That's when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle drove off the roadway on Route 94, driving several hundred yards before coming to a stop, according to a release from Hanover Fire Chief Jan Cromer.

Shoemaker was a volunteer with the department for more than 40 years.

Shoemaker was the only occupant in the vehicle. He was transported to Hanover Hospital where he died.

West Manheim Police are investigating the cause of the accident, according to the release.

The York County Coroner's office confirmed that an autopsy for Shoemaker has been scheduled for Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown to determine his cause of death.

A fire destroyed one half of a duplex on the 500 block of Pumping Station Road in West Manhiem Twp. Saturday morning.

The fire: Pleasant Hill Fire Chief Ted Clousher said the fire completely destroyed the left side of the duplex and damaged some of the right side. Clousher said careless disposal of smoking materials lead to the blaze, starting at the front porch and eventually spreading to the rest of the duplex.

"The one side is going to have to be completely torn down," Cousher said.

Despite the heavy damage, Clousher said, five residents and a dog were displaced but unhurt.

Firefighters put out the fire quickly, Clousher said.

“The bulk of the fire was knocked down in . . . about 15 minutes,” he said.

Clousher said Fire Marshals are still investigating and determining the amount of damages.

Red Cross is assisting those displaced in the fire.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com