Nippenose Valley couple left homeless by blaze

PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette This home on Middle Road in Limestone Township, more than a 100 years old, was destroyed in a two-alarm fire that broke out early Sunday morning. A couple was left homeless by the fire, which burned out of control for nearly 30 minutes.

OVAL — A Limestone couple was left homeless after their house on Middle Road was destroyed in an early-morning, two-alarm fire Sunday, according to Jeff Stabley, assistant fire chief for the Nippenose Township Volunteer Fire Co.

It appears the fire at the home David and Penny Stom at 585 Middle Road was accidental, Stabley said.

Penny Stom told firemen that she “heard a pop, and when she came downstairs to investigate, her television was on fire,” Stabley said. Her husband was not home at the time.

The fire was reported by a passerby who called 911 just before 6 a.m., Stabley said.

Penny Stom grabbed one of the couple’s family dogs and “safely exited the house,” Stabley said. A second dog, later found on the second floor, perished in the fire.

Responding to the fire, Stabley could see flames about two miles from the property as he drove along Pine Woods Road.

“There was heavy fire on the first floor, pretty much all away around the house,” Stabley, one of the first firefighters on the scene, said.

Firefighters from Nippenose Valley, Antes Fort, Nisbet and Jersey Shore responded on the initial call. Stabley wasted no time and ordered a second alarm, bringing additional resources and manpower to the scene from Washington Township and DuBoistown.

Due to the heavy volume of fire, firefighters fought the blaze in a “defensive mode,” meaning they battled the fire from the exterior, Stabley explained.

“Much of the floor on the first floor was gone, burned away,” he said.

Once most of the intense flames were knocked down, firefighters could then go into the burned out structure and tear apart walls where much of the fire remained hidden, Stabley said.

Volunteer fire police directed traffic away from the scene by closing a portion of Middle Road until about 10 a.m.

Cpl. Nicholas A. Loffredo, a state police fire marshal, was expected to visit the scene later today to help determine the cause of the fire, Stabley said. Stabley added that there was nothing suspicious about the cause of the fire. Damage was in excess of $100,000, he said. It could not be confirmed if the couple, who are staying with relatives, had fire insurance.