Charleston Township fire leaves family homeless

WELLSBORO – A double-wide mobile home at 5322 Orebed Road in Charleston Township went up in flames just before noon Tuesday.

According to Wellsboro Fire Chief Lonnie Campbell, the blaze was called in by the mobile home’s occupant, Christopher Carpenter, around 11:30 a.m.

Carpenter said he was in the workshop behind the home when he heard his dog, still in the home, barking.

“When he came out of the shop, he saw the smoke coming out of the house and he was calling 911 as he walked across his yard to let the dog out of the house,” Campbell said.

“He was able to let the dog out and move a vehicle and that was about it,” he added.

Campbell said the state police fire marshal investigated Wednesday and determined the origin of the fire was a clothes dryer that was running.

“It appears it was due to a fire in the clothes dryer, most likely either caused by lint collection or the motor itself,” Campbell said.

Upon arrival, Campbell said heavy smoke and fire was showing through the roof and rear center of building.

“By the time my first engine pulled in, there was fire throughout the structure,” he added.

A “pretty significant wind” started a small brush fire but that was quickly put out, he said.

No one else was home at the time, but Carpenter lived there with his wife, Jessica, who was out, and two young children, who were in school.

Assisting Wellsboro with tankers and additional manpower were the Middlebury and Mansfield fire departments. It took about 25 firefighters about 2 1/2 hours to extinguish the fire.

The home was completely destroyed, along with all its contents, he added.

The homeowner, Barbara Nichols, of Wellsboro had insurance on the structure and the Carpenters had renters insurance, Campbell said.

The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross.