Saturday, February 4, 2012
One dead in Wellsboro fire
By George Osgood, Star Gazette
One person died when fire swept through a double-wide modular home early Friday morning in Charleston Township, 6 miles east of Wellsboro.
Neighbors said the home was owned and occupied by Donald Horning. Efforts to locate Horning on Friday were unsuccessful.
An autopsy on the badly charred remains was planned at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown.
Wellsboro Fire Chief Lonnie Campbell said the remains appeared to be those of an adult male.
A neighbor reported the fire to 911 dispatchers in Wellsboro at 2:45 a.m.
Campbell, learning that the home was burning, immediately requested mutual aid from departments in Mansfield and Middlebury Center.
"When we got there ... flames were coming from all four sides of the structure," he said. "There was already a partial roof collapse."
Firefighters drew water from a nearby pond to fight the blaze, but by the time they arrived, there was virtually nothing to save, Campbell said.
"It was gone," he said. "It was a total loss.
"Firefighters initially knocked the flames down within about 15 minutes of when they began the attack," he said. "Then they began the tedious process of getting inside, fighting the spot fires that popped up. That took a while."
Firefighters found the victim's remains just inside the front door of the 48-by-27-foot, single-story home. Tioga County Chief Deputy Coroner James Daugherty of Wellsboro pronounced the victim dead at the scene, but did not list an identity.
State police fire marshals from Mansfield and Montoursville investigated the blaze, but had not determined a cause Friday afternoon.
"The fire appeared to have started in or near the master bedroom," Campbell said. "There was no wood burner in the house, just electric and LP gas service. At this point, we don't know what caused it."
One firefighter who suffered an eye injury was treated at the scene, Campbell said.