Fire Destroys Camptown Home
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Camptown area residents Scott and Cheryl Keeney took refuge in their pickup truck early Tuesday morning as they watched in horror as their nearby home was being consumed by flames. Almost nine years to the day—on Tuesday, October 20, 2003—the Keeneys suffered the same catastrophe when their home and belongings were destroyed by a raging fire.
“We didn’t get anything out,” Scott Keeney said. “I don’t even have my shoes.” Keeney’s wife, Cheryl, who dashed from their burning home in her nightgown, went back briefly to grab a pair of shoes in their home’s breezeway.
Scott Keeney recently underwent knee surgery and has been using a walker. “I couldn’t get to my walker and I was hobbling around like Chester on the old Gunsmoke TV show,” Scott said. He managed to get to the garage and move his pickup a safe distance from the house.
Scott said the fire appeared to have started in the area of an outdoor propane-fueled generator. He said the generator automatically starts periodically as a test and that’s apparently what was taking place when the fire broke out. For a time, Cheryl battled the fire with a garden hose like she did when their house burned to the ground in 2003, but she was unable to contain the fire, which was being fueled by a broken propane line. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the house was fully involved and flames soon spread to a nearby garage.
Keeney’s brother, Bill, responded with the LeRaysville Pike Fire Company and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “If it hadn’t been for their smoke alarms, they’d still be in there,” he said.
The Keeneys’ home is located off Herrickville Road up a narrow and winding dirt road called Keeney Lane. The home’s remote location and the lack of a water source hampered firefighters’ efforts to control the blaze. At times, the heat of the blaze forced firefighters to move back.
Firefighters were called out shortly after 2 a.m. Volunteers from Wyalusing, Wysox, Laceyville, Herrickville, Wilmot Township and LeRaysville-Pike responded to the scene. Wyalusing Fire Chief Adam Dietz said Wilmot set up its pumper in a nearby creek and water was ferried by tankers to the fire scene.
Along with all their belongings, the Keeneys’ pets were killed in the fire, including a dog that had survived the 2003 fire.
Scott Keeney said he won’t rebuild his house like he did the last time it burned. “I just can’t do it again,” he said. “I’m not physically able to do it.”
This story was first reported on our website Tuesday morning. To receive free Rocket-Bulletin email alerts of breaking news, sign up on our website (www.rocket-courier.com).