Fire claims already burned duplex in York City
Residents in the area of the 500 block of Susquehanna Avenue experienced a bit of deja vu Thursday evening.
On March 15, 522 and 524 Susquehanna Ave. experienced an electrical fire, displacing five people and killing three dogs. Seven months later, that duplex caught on fire once again.
Neighbor Yvonne Beard remembered the fire in March.
"This is worse than before," Beard said.
The fire occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and York City Fire Chief David Michaels said because both the electricity and gas were turned off before the blaze and the building was abandoned, the cause is considered suspicious. No one was injured during the fire.
The chief said the duplex was a total loss. He said it was hard to determine a damage estimate because the home was already damaged before this fire started.
After the first fire, Michaels estimated $100,000 in damage had been done.
A loader from York City Public Works could be seen taking the building down shortly after crews had the blaze under control.
"There was only, like, one or two walls standing," the chief said.
Susquehanna Avenue runs parallel to South Queen Street to the east.
Michaels said the fire took about an hour for crews to bring under control.
Fighting the fire: The chief said since the fire had damaged the building previously, a red X was on it, indicating it was structurally deficient. The crews fought the fire defensively, meaning no firefighters entered the building.
The smoke from the blaze could be seen from a few blocks away.
Michaels said when crews got there, the fire was "well involved" and was causing smoke damage to the roofs of some homes on Wilson Court, which runs parallel to Susquehanna Avenue. Additionally, some of the siding was melting on those homes from the heat. The residents of those buildings were asked to leave while crews fought the fire.
"We did get everybody out of there," Michaels said.
Firefighters were seen using a ladder positioned above the roofs from an engine on the Wilson Court side, with water falling the onto the homes below.
Fire departments from Dover Township were on the scene also, along with York Area United Fire and Rescue.
Fire: Beard and her husband were asked to leave their home during the fire. She said they then looked out and saw flames and smoke coming from the building. They were watching the fire on Susquehanna Avenue.
She talked about the fire that happened there earlier this year and said the fact that it was happening again made her nervous.
Ahmed Bahanan also lives nearby. He was watching the fire from the same site that Beard was.
"Me and my friend, we were talking and ... we suddenly saw flames coming out (of the home)," he said. "And then we saw all these city firefighters showing up."
Fire officials blocked off both ends of Susquehanna Avenue to fight the fire. York City Police were also seen directing traffic away from the fire.
Firefighters were still on the scene around 10 p.m. The chief said they were expected to be there for a few hours to clean up.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.