Flames were well underway in the rear of a Butler Twp. home when firefighters arrived Friday but they were able to limit damage to the rest of the house.
The cause the fire is undetermined but it isn’t suspicious and no injuries were reported, Valley Regional Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Kevin Tarapchak said.
Flames sparked into “heavy fire” at 201 Avalanche Lane in the private, gated community of Beech Mountain Lakes off Route 309 in a two-story, wood-frame house, but firefighters had it under control within five minutes.
They brought one hose line to the rear deck to put the flames out and brought a second into the kitchen to handle the fire there. Crews were “doing what we need to do,” to limit the damage, said Tarapchak. It took crews a while to check the rest of the house to make sure flames didn’t extend elsewhere.
Initial reports indicated that a propane tank exploded prior to first responders arrival; however, firefighters determined it was actually the release valves on the tanks doing what they are supposed to do when under pressure, said Tarapchak.
Smoke damage was found throughout the house while the kitchen and deck sustained fire damage. Vinyl siding on the exterior of the home in the rear from the first to second floors and some wood were also damaged, he said.
The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the family who will have to make repairs and get an electrical inspection before living in the home again, said the deputy chief.
Everyone was out of the home when first responders arrived. The father got his two kids and dog out of the home and remembered to close the front door when they left, which helped prevent oxygen from fueling the flames inside, said Tarapchak.
Hazle Twp. Fire and Rescue joined Valley Regional firefighters on the call and were assisted by a second alarm crew staffed by firefighters from Sugarloaf Twp., White Haven, Dennison Twp., Foster Twp. and Hazleton for its Rapid Intervention team. The additional firefighters were called out to the scene based on the amount of fire reported to Luzerne County 911 at roughly 1:15 p.m. Freeland and White Haven firefighters ended up taking charge of standby operations at Valley Regional’s station in the event another emergency warranted first responders as the fire was being taken care of.
Butler Twp. police were also on scene investigating.