Causes determined in fires in city, Lycoming Township

Wednesday’s house fire on Cottage Avenue in Lycoming Township has been ruled accidental, according to Hepburn Township Fire Chief Jeff Tempesco.

Diana Yaw and her 16-year-old granddaughter were left homeless as a result of the fire at Yaw’s home at 1362 Cottage Ave. The two were believed to be staying in a nearby camper, Tempesco said.

The fire was discovered by a neighbor about 12:30 p.m. Yaw was at work and her granddaughter was at school at the time, Tempesco said.

It is believed that the fire was sparked in the area of a ceiling fan in the bathroom of the one-story home, Tempesco said. The preliminary damage estimate was set at $10,000, Tempesco said, adding that Yaw had fire insurance.

Concerning an earlier fire this month, city Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach said the damage estimate from the April 7 blaze at 687-689 Seventh Ave. has been set at $75,000.

The cause of the fire, which started on the back porch on the 687 side, will remain undetermined, he said. Two families, a total of nine tenants, were left homeless by the fire.

In Picture Rocks, a house fire on Bennett Street that destroyed a kitchen and an enclosed porch on April 11 was caused by a heat lamp being left on to keep a dozen chicks warm in a cardboard box on the porch, borough Fire Chief Al Little said Thursday night.

Three family members and a friend staying at the house at 168 Bennett St. were routed from the two-and-a-half story house about 11 p.m. when one of them was awakened by the family’s barking dog, Little said.

The entire kitchen and porch were engulfed in flames when volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene, Little said. The bulk of the fire was knocked down within 10 minutes and with 2,500 gallons of water, he added. Firefighters from Hughesville, Muncy Valley and Muncy Area also responded.

One of the occupants was treated at the Muncy Valley Hospital for minor burns, Little said. Despite the quick knock down, the fire caused an estimated $150,000 damage. The family had no fire insurance, Little said. The local chapter of the American Red Cross was providing assistance to the victims, whose identities were not available.

This was the third fire in the region within a year that was caused by heat lamps used to keep chicks warm. An elderly couple on Biddle Road in Mill Creek Township lost their home to such a fire on March 30. A Montoursville’s family home in the 1100 block of Tule Street was destroyed in a blaze last May 3 that too was sparked by a heat lamp.