A kerosene lamp explosion caused a fire which burned down the home of two families in the Path Valley settlement (Pennsylvania). Here’s how it happened and the fire team’s response, via the Chambersburg Public Opinion:

One of the people in the house was handling a kerosene lamp when it exploded, Hall said. Flames spread. It took a while for someone to reach a neighbor’s house where the call was made.

Everyone was out of the house when firefighters arrived, Hall said. One resident had burns on his face. A MMPW firefighter apparently slipped on a ladder and suffered a minor injury. Both men were treated at the scene and refused further treatment.

Tanker trucks ferried water down a one-lane dirt drive for three-quarters of a mile to reach the house, according to Hall. Two would go down the lane, drop their loads, turn around at an adjoining farm and return before two more could make the trip.

“There was never a continuous flow of water,” Hall said.

Franklin Fire Company’s ladder truck helped knock down hot spots, but crews first had to interrupt operations to get it into position, according to Hall.

Two families suggests this is probably a single home which may have had a dawdi house attached, a common layout for Amish. Or, sometimes two Amish families, not necessarily grandparents, will live in the same structure which has two separate households. The article notes that the home had several additions. It was a three-story log style home (at least in part).

The reporting suggests the challenges faced by rural fire crews. No hydrants available.

The Path Valley community is found in Franklin County in south central PA. This is a settlement of five or six churches in size. Thankfully no one lost their lives in this incident which is of course not always the case.

Thanksgiving Fire Update

Last month brought the sad story of an Amish couple who lost their two year old daughter in a fire on the eve of Thanksgiving. Additionally, 10 Amish people were injured, some severely.

A cause of the fire has been revealed.  As Gretchen suggested in the comments, the culprit was a lamp, in this case a “liquid fuel” lamp.

Alternative sources of light and heat are one hazard of being Amish. In most cases they are handled safely but accidents do happen. One example is the tragic death of an Amish woman who died following an explosion while lighting a lamp. Apparently it was a freak situation in which gas had accidentally been mixed with kerosene.

More on Amish lighting.

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