Fire levels home in Summit Hill
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Crews from two counties were called to battle the blaze that leveled a summer home in Summit Hill.
A home in Summit Hill used for summer gatherings and parties was leveled by flames shortly after noon Friday.
The fire occurred at a vacant, L-shaped house off Laurel Drive (Route 902) at the bottom of Bugzies Mountain in the White Bear section of the community.
The home is surrounded by a privacy fence, making it impossible to see from the highway.
Officials said it is owned by Peter Radocha of Coaldale.
Summit Hill Police Chief Joseph Fittos said the home is well-maintained and is used during the summer months for social activities.
He said the grass is always cut in the field surrounding the home.
The blaze was discovered by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers who saw dark smoke coming from the area.
The PennDOT workers were filling potholes on Laurel Drive and noticed the thick smoke erupting from the building.
When firefighters reached the scene, half of the building was engulfed in flames.
Summit Hill Fire Chief Shawn Hoben said he is contacting a state police fire marshal to help determine the cause of the fire.
Hoben said despite the intensity of the flames, a portion of the building remained standing.
He said that despite this, it appears the entire structure is ruined.
"We came right out of the gate and there wasn't much we could do," Hoben said regarding the fast response by the firefighters.
"It's a rural area with no hydrants."
As a result, Hoben immediately put out a request for mutual aid for tanker trucks.
Water was transported from the nearby Mauch Chunk Lake and dumped into portable reservoirs, from which it was pumped onto the flames.
Aerial trucks from the Summit Hill Fire Department and Nesquehoning Fire Company were also used. Responding were firefighters from Summit Hill, Lansford, Coaldale, Jim Thorpe, Mahoning Township, Nesquehoning, Franklin Township, East Penn Township and Tamaqua.
No injuries were reported.
Hoben declared the fire under control in about an hour. He praised the assistance he recieived from other departments.
"There were a lot of tankers that responded and they did a good job," he said. "Without the water, we couldn't have fought the fire as well as we did."
He said, "The firefighters did a great job. I personally want to thank all the neighboring firefighters who responded. It's a great asset to have all these volunteer firefighters."
Also assisting at the scene were fire police from Summit Hill and the Lehighton Ambulance.