Two Area Homes Hit by Fire
By David Keeler
Wilmot Township Home Gutted by Blaze
Wyalusing firefighters were called into action twice last week in less than 24 hours to battle blazes at homes in Wilmot and Terry Townships.
Firefighters were first called out Thursday morning. July 21 at about 11 a.m. to a fire at a home on Wood Road, about a half-mile from SR2010. The house is the former residence of Paul Hails, owner of His Kids Dairy goat farm, and was vacant. It had recently been purchased by Lee Dobrinski of the Mehoopany area and was being converted into apartments.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, the entire first floor of the home was filled with flames. At times, flames shot out the home’s windows.
Firefighters donned air packs, entered the home and knocked down the worst of the blaze. While flames never shot through the roof and the exterior walls remained standing, damage inside the home was extensive. At times, a stiff breeze fanned the flames and made the firefighters’ job more difficult. Temperatures in the high 90’s made the job extremely exhausting for firefighters.
Wyalusing Fire Chief Adam Dietz said Thursday afternoon that a state police fire marshal had determined the fire was caused by a faulty wall switch.
Crews from Wyalusing, Laceyville, Wilmot Township, New Albany and Dushore responded to the blaze. Wyalusing firefighters returned to the fire scene later in the day when the fire rekindled.
The home was formerly owned by Newt Franklin and his descendants.
Family Loses Everything
In Friday Fire
Friday morning firefighters were called out again to a raging fire at the residence of Randy and Holly Moon on Race Hill Road, about a mile and a half from Route 187 in Terry Township.
Wyalusing firefighters received the alarm shortly after 6 a.m., and when they arrived on the scene, they found the home fully engulfed in flames.
Christine Shaffer, who lives with her husband, Matt, in a trailer behind the Moons’ house, said she was awakened by a loud explosion and then discovered the fire. Matt Shaffer is Holly Moon's son. As firefighters battled the blaze, there were more explosions, which were believed to have been the result of a propane tank venting and then igniting. Flames shot high in the air and a plume of dense smoke was visible for miles.
Randy and Holly Moon were at work at Cargill when the blaze broke out, but their four dogs were inside the burning home and somehow managed to get out, although one of them ran off and appeared to have been burned.
Holly Moon said the house was 130 years old. Only a few items were saved from the home, which was completely destroyed along with an attached garage.
A state police fire marshal called to the scene was unable to determine a cause because the damage was so extensive that no clues remained regarding how the fire might have started.
Firefighters from Wyalusing, New Albany, Wysox, Wilmot Township and Laceyville responded. Wilmot firefighters positioned their pumper at a nearby pond and pumped water to the fire scene about a quarter mile away.