STAR TANNERY – A fire, aided by the wind, ripped through a home on Zepp Road on Monday evening while the owners were away.
Around 4 p.m., Karen Reinaldo, a neighbor, said she was sitting down to watch a movie when someone came up to her house and said her neighbor’s house was on fire.
“It started in the back,” Reinaldo said. “The back porch was already engulfed when they saw it. They were worried about the dogs.”
Chief Deputy Bill Streett said some neighbors heard the dogs inside and removed them from the house before they were hurt. All of the pets, including a horse, were accounted for, Streett said.
Reinaldo said she called the fire department and the electric company to let them know a power line had fallen in the yard after the fire broke out. She said she was nervous about the response time of firefighters because they lived so far away and there isn’t any good way to get to Star Tannery.
Streett said another struggle for firefighters was access to water. Although there was a pond near the property, crews could not access it because of power lines. Instead, they were forced to use a dry hydrant “several miles away.”
Departments from Strasburg, Toms Brook, Star Tannery, Woodstock and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue responded to the fire.
Street said the first call for a structure fire came in around 4:09 p.m. The cause of the fire, which appeared to have started outside on the back porch, is unknown, Street said.
Street said a neighbor down the street was checking his mail when he saw smoke rising from the house.
The wind moved the fire inside the house, eventually engulfing the entire structure, Streett said.
Firefighters took about an hour to get the fire under control and were continuing to monitor the smoldering flames at 6:45 p.m. Streett said the Fire Marshal’s office is going to investigate to find the cause of the fire. At the scene, Streett said the cause of the fire did not appear suspicious.
Streett did not offer an estimate for the cost of damages to the home because he had not seen any before and after photos. Some work had been done recently on the home, he said, but the value would be determined in the fire marshal's investigation. The home was a total loss, he said.
The Red Cross was contacted and is assisting the homeowners with housing, Streett said.
There were no injuries from the fire.