By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND — Personnel from five companies rushed to the scene of an attic fire at 480 Water St. that left a family of four temporarily homeless at about 4 p.m. Sunday.
Carla Kalcich said she, her husband, Jeff, daughter Casey, 21, and son James, 17, safely escaped the burning home along with their three dogs and one cat.
Onlookers gathered in crowds in front of the house to watch the firefighters work against the smoke and flames.
Water was sprayed out of an attic window at the front of the house, and burned debris, including books and papers, was tossed out by volunteers during the fire fight. The water coming out of the window was a means of ventilation to pull smoke and other gases from the attic.
Carla Kalcich said she didn’t know what caused the flames. “We turned on the furnace to start the heat today,” she said, but later, daughter Casey ran downstairs to the porch to tell her mother that there was a fire in the attic. Carla Kalcich said she had been in the attic earlier that day to gather up Halloween decorations.
Northumberland Fire Chief Brian Crebs said he believes the blaze was an accidental electrical fire. Most of the damage was confined to the attic, he said, although there was smoke and water damage on the second floor and some water damage in isolated areas of the first floor. He estimated the loss at $50,000.
The home is not habitable, he said, and the family is being helped by the American Red Cross. “It will take a fair amount of work” to fix the house due to the amount of smoke that was in it, he said.
Responding to the alarm were Northumberland, Point Township, Sunbury, Shamokin Dam and Mahoning Township companies.