Fire chief found Lower Windsor blaze while searching for gas leak

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Firefighters alerted a man inside that his Lower Windsor Twp. mobile home was on fire on Nov. 11, 2018, and he got out safely, East Prospect Fire Chief Jerry Hanson said.

East Prospect firefighters heading to what they thought was a gas leak found a nearby home on fire and alerted the man inside, who made it out safely, the fire chief said.

"It was a big shock to everybody," East Prospect Fire Chief Jerry Hanson said.

Fire crews were summoned to Haven Drive in the Log Cabin Mobile Home Park about 4:45 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, for the reported gas leak, according to the chief.

He said as he was cruising Haven Drive, looking for the house number on the trailer where 911 had been called from, he saw something much more pressing.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw orange," Hanson told The York Dispatch. "When I looked closer, there were flames coming out a (mobile-home) window."

He diverted crews to the burning home, he said, where firefighters discovered that a middle-age man was still inside — unaware that one end of his home was ablaze.

After being alerted by fire crews, the resident got out safely, Hanson said. His sister, with whom he shares the home, wasn't there at the time, according to the chief.

Firefighters from East Prospect, Wrightsville, Craley and Yorkana had the blaze under control in about 20 minutes, after which it took about an hour to extinguish it entirely, Hanson said.

A Canadochly Valley Ambulance crew examined the resident and determined he didn't require medical assistance, Hanson said. No one else was hurt either, he said.

'Fortunate': "It was fortunate we already had fire equipment on the road when we discovered the fire," he said.

Crews' efforts saved one end of the home, plus the contents located on that end, according to Hanson. He said flames were limited primarily to the room where the blaze began.

Fire crews made short work of a mobile-home fire on Haven Drive in Lower Windsor twp. on Nov. 11, 2018, according to East Prospect Fire Chief Jerry Hanson. But while crews saved residents' possessions, the trailer might be a total loss, he said.

The fire's cause was determined to be electrical in nature, likely caused by an overloaded electrical circuit, Hanson said.

Because it's a mobile home, the structure might be deemed a total loss, he said, but at least many of the possessions inside were saved.

Hanson estimated damages at $10,000 for the structure itself and $5,000 for its contents.

He said firefighters found no working smoke detectors in the home.

Red Cross helps: The American Red Cross/Greater Pennsylvania Region was called in to assist the siblings, since they can't remain in the home.

They have pet cats, according to the chief, who said he was unaware that any had died.

"We did account for some of them," Hanson said. "Some are probably still running."

As crews battled the blaze, Hanson sent several firefighters to the trailer just a few doors away, where the original 911 call had been placed complaining of a gas or propane leak.

"There wasn't any gas leak," the chief said, adding those residents likely smelled an odor coming from the burning mobile home.

To donate to the Red Cross, send checks or money orders to the Red Cross' "Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps" campaign, 724 S. George St., York PA 17401. Or donate online at www.redcross.org/donate/donation.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.