Fire chief: Grease fire started blaze that damaged 4 York City row homes

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A grease fire in the kitchen of a home in York City's north end caused a three-alarm blaze that damaged four attached row houses on Monday, York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff said.

Crews were called to the 200 block of Franklin Way at 11:26 a.m. and arrived in two minutes, the chief said. Franklin Way is an alley that runs parallel to, and in between, Walnut and Chestnut streets in York City.

No one was hurt, according to Deardorff, who said some of the homes might be salvageable.

All four row houses were occupied and an estimated 15 people have been displaced, the chief said.

The Greater Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting those displaced in the blaze, Deardorff said.

Grease left burning on a stove at 239 Franklin Way traveled up a stairway and up to the attic, he said. Once there, it was able to travel to the other three units because the row of homes shares a common attic, the chief said.

Heavy smoke, flames: "We had heavy smoke coming from all units and very significant fire volume out the front of all three floors … from basement to attic, from front to back," he said.

Firefighters battle a blaze that damaged four attached row houses on Franklin Way in York City Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Deardorff said 239 and 241 Franklin Way sustained heavy damage, while 243 and 245 Franklin Way sustained smoke and water damage to upper floors.

The alley was too thin for ladder trucks to access, the chief said, so firefighters used ground ladders instead.

Wires leading to the row of homes also caught fire, interrupting electrical service for neighbors in the area, Deardorff said.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Met-Ed was heading to the area to restore power to the rest of the neighborhood and to shut off power to the four fire-damaged homes, according to the chief.

The blaze went to three alarms for additional manpower, because firefighters were going inside all four burning units, he said.

Other fires: Because there were several other fires in York County around the same time, some of the normal mutual-aid fire departments and companies that assist York City were busy elsewhere, the chief said.

No one was hurt when a grease cooking on a stove started a blaze that damaged four row houses in the 200 block of Franklin Way in York City on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, according to York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff.

The other fires included a chimney fire on Detters Mill Road in Dover Township and an appliance fire in Hellam Township, as well as a blaze in Conewago Township that destroyed a mobile home.

A number of firefighters and equipment were called in to help battle the Franklin Way blaze, including from York Area United, West Manchester Township, Manchester Borough, West York and Red Lion, Deardorff said.

"Everybody worked together and did a good job," he said. "We were fortunate we had the assistance we had. It was all hands on deck."

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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Firefighters battle a blaze that damaged four attached row houses on Franklin Way in York City Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Bill Kalina photo