Crews faced challenges while fighting flames at West Deer Township farmhouse

WEST DEER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — West Deer firefighters spent seven hours battling a massive house fire at a former alpaca farm on Logan Road Tuesday night.

Smoky conditions and 20-degree temperatures were just a couple of the complications crews faced.

PHOTOS: Firefighters respond to large house fire in West Deer Township

“Once we started flowing water, everything became covered in ice,” said Chief Josh Wiegand, with West Deer Volunteer Fire Department #3. “The ground, guys were falling down. They were covered in ice themselves. Whenever we tried to change their air cylinders, we had to thaw the ice away so that we could change their cylinders.”

Wiegand also noted the roof collapsing made the fire much more difficult to put out and led to firefighters being called back three times Wednesday to extinguish hot spots that rekindled.

“Because the building was so involved when the roof collapsed, it trapped burning debris in the center of the building. With the building being compromised, we didn’t want to send firefighters in there, so that made it difficult to get water in the areas we needed to,” Wiegand explained.

Fire officials deemed the home a total loss.

Family members of the man who lived there say everything was destroyed other than his cars, but they’re just grateful he’s okay.

Chief Anthony Creaturo, with West Deer Vol. Fire #2 says the fire started in the fireplace.

“He [the homeowner] had stated that he was starting a fire in his fireplace and he noticed that it wasn’t flueing or venting through his flue the right way. Rather than it going up, he noticed it was coming back down and he knew he had a problem at that point and it just spread from there,” Creaturo said.

As temperatures continue to drop over the next several months, before lighting your fireplace, Creaturo has this advice.

“Get your fireplaces checked,” he said. “There’s lots of companies out there that can do that. That would be my recommendation.”

The family of the homeowner says they know a lot of people have come forward looking to help them out.

They say they appreciate the offers but would rather see people donate to the West Deer volunteer fire departments.

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