MANSFIELD - An electrical wiring fire left five people homeless in the borough late Tuesday.
According to Mansfield Fire Chief Jim Welch, the fire at 80 S. Academy St. was ruled "accidental electrical" and likely was caused by "some sort of electrical short in the second-floor wall or ceiling area."
The first-floor residents, three male university students, had noticed a problem with ceiling lights about 9:30 p.m. and then smelled smoke around 11 p.m., calling 911 around 11:10 p.m., Welch said.
Five residents of 80 S. Academy St., Mansfield, are homeless after a Tuesday night fire.
Though Welch said he did not know the names of those displaced, he said that the two upstairs residents, a mother and her daughter, were not at home at the time of the fire.
There were no injuries and the five people have found temporary housing with friends or family, he said.
The house is owned by John Mitchell, who said it was insured.
Welch estimated the cost of the damage to be around $60,000 and said the structure is "repairable."
"Structurally, it is intact. The damage was in a limited section in the center portion of the house's interior walls and there were some second-floor windows broken, plus the whole house will have to rewired," Welch said.
Fire damage was contained to a segment of wall on the first and second floors, into the attic and "extended a bit into the rooms adjacent to that wall, because of the balloon frame construction of the 100-year-old house."
"Studs in the wall were 18 feet long, making a common stud from first floor to the attic, providing a wide open channel with no fire stop. Fires in these older homes are in the walls and we end up having to chase these fires to the attic as fast as we can so we can beat it before it beats us," Welch said.
About 30 firefighters from Mansfield, Blossburg, Wellsboro and Liberty got the fire out in about two hours, Welch said.
"We had no water supply issue being in the borough so we could reallocate those resources we would send for water, to fighting the fire," he added.