EAST CAMERON TOWNSHIP — A firefighter was taken to a hospital for a shoulder injury after a portion of a charred deck gave way at the onset of a house fire Friday afternoon.
Jarrod Scandle, a Shamokin firefighter and corporal with Shamokin Police Department, had just cleared the scene of an extinguished second-alarm fire on North Lombard Street in the city when a 911 call for a working fire at the Metzinger home, 3922 Upper Road, was made at 1:19 p.m.
Units from upper Schuylkill County and lower Northumberland County, many of which were still at the Shamokin fire or on standby, rushed to the East Cameron Township home located about a quarter mile west of the Point Breeze intersection not far from Gowen City.
A News-Item reporter witnessed Scandle appear to fall while attacking the fire from the rear deck and was pulled to safety by other firefighters. He was seen walking around after the fall prior to leaving the scene in a Shamokin Emergency Squad unit driven by Shamokin Mayor John Brown.
When contacted Friday night, Brown, who transported Scandle to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, said the firefighter/police officer suffered a dislocated left shoulder and was recuperating at home after undergoing emergency room treatment at the hospital.
East Cameron Township Fire Chief James Reed Jr. reported the fire is believed to have started in the basement area of the home inhabited by Ken and Kelly Metzinger and their adult children, including Kevin and Wesley Metzinger.
Reed said Kelly Metzinger was the only one home at the time of the fire and was able to escape injury.
He said the fire is not suspicious. The cause has not yet been determined.
Reed said a state police fire marshal from Selinsgrove is scheduled to inspect the fire damage this morning in hopes of determining a cause.
He said the Metzinger family is staying with relatives.
Russell White watched as firefighters attempted to dampen the flames, which caused about half the roof of the two-story home to collapse. He had called 911 about 20 minutes after noticing an unusual amount of smoke coming from the rear of the property.
“I was driving a tri-axle truck and thought someone was burning behind the house, but then I thought something wasn’t right,” he said. “I backed up the truck and realized there was a fire.”
White, who was one of the first bystanders to arrive at a three-alarm fire in Ashland on Feb. 21, banged on the front door of the Metzinger home and shouted to see if anyone was inside. He then saw Kelly Metzinger, who he safely assisted out of the burning home.
White then attempted to move various-sized propane tanks away from the home and assisted firefighters with a hose line.
“We are unsure what started it,” Kevin Metzinger said. “We have been pondering that since we got here.”
The family watched as firefighters attempted to bring the flames under control. Anthracite Steam Fire Company’s ladder truck from Mount Carmel was positioned next to the home as other apparatus filled Upper Road and nearby driveways. Tanker trucks shuttled water back and forth from a fill site to the scene.
Chauffeurs blew the horns of their apparatus about 30 minutes after the fire started to alert personnel inside to evacuate due to dangerous conditions.
Firefighters gained control of the fire with both exterior and renewed interior attacks. With the exception of a few pockets of flames, the fire was extinguished in about an hour.
Firefighters appeared to have kept the flames from spreading throughout the entire home; however, the entire home suffered smoke, water and heat damage.
“We are thankful and appreciate everything these guys do,” Kevin Metzinger said of the firefighters. “It’s only stuff. Stuff can be replaced — people can’t.”
Firefighters cleared the scene at 5 p.m.