A large home located along a dirt road in an isolated, wooded area of Franklin Township was leveled by an early morning fire today.
After being dispatched shortly after 5 a.m. to the residence off Evergreen Drive near the Kriss Pines area, firefighters had to drive their apparatus about a half mile up a narrow, dirt road to reach the scene. The entire structure was engulfed in flames before the fire was discovered by a passing motorist, who initially thought it was a forest fire.
A Franklin Township police officer was the first emergency responder at the scene and discovered it was a house. He said when he arrived, most of the structure was already fully involved.
When asked if it was a two-or-three story structure, he responded, "The involvement (of fire) was to the point that I couldn't tell."
Nobody was in the house at the time, police and fire officials said. The house is reportedly owned by a male who lives in New Jersey.
Franklin Township Fire Chief Bruce Wolfe said the fire apparently started sometime during the night. The passing motorist noticed a large column of smoke and phoned the Carbon County Communications Center.
Doll said he was dispatched to the scene at 6:04 a.m.
Wolfe said some trees around the perimeter of the house had started burning but that fire was in no danger of spreading beyond that point because of the woods being green.
"It wasn't going to go anywhere," Wolfe said.
Responding to the scene besides the Franklin Township Fire Department were members of the Lehighton, Mahoning Township, Parryville, Bowmanstown, East Penn, Jim Thorpe, and Towamensing Township fire departments.
Also at the scene was the Lehighton Ambulance Association and fire police from several communities.
There were no reported injuries.
Wolfe said especially vital at the scene were tank trucks dispatched by most of the fire departments.
He said Franklin's tanker is presently out of service. A new tanker truck is under construction at Kovatch Mobile Equipment (KME) in Nesquehoning, but won't be ready for service for about another month.
There is no central water system in the area of the fire scene.
The tankers shuttled water from about two miles away at the Lehighton Water Authority filtration plant.
Wolfe praised the mutual aid he received, noting everybody worked together.
"The guys are great," he said. "No matter what you need, they do it."
The cause of the fire is unknown. A state police fire marshal will assist local officials in their investigation.