Gregg Township fire leaves family of nine homeless

mcarroll@centredaily.comNovember 13, 2013 

— A family of nine lost their home to structure fire Wednesday afternoon at the foot of Brush Mountain.

No one was injured in the blaze, which began shortly after 2 p.m. on rural Ayva Lane off Brush Mountain Road, about two miles east of Spring Mills.

Nate and Sarah Haupt lived in the home with their seven children, a family member said.

They weren’t home when the fire began. Neighbors spotted smoke and called 911.

Flames were pouring from the dwelling by the time firefighters arrived. Emergency responders said they could see the billowing smoke from as far away as Millheim as they traveled to the blaze.

A family dog died in the fire. Other animals, including two cows and a pony, were outside grazing in a field in front of the property and were not injured.

Glen Jackson, Sarah Haupt’s father, said several of his young grandchildren cried because their Bibles burned in the fire.

The home was a total loss, only its charred remains visible after the smoke began to clear.

“The top story is pretty well gone,” said Millheim Fire Chief Delmar Homan.

Firefighters had yet to determine the cause of the blaze or where it started by early Wednesday evening. A state police fire marshal was called to the scene to assist.

Homan said the fire had a good head start on responders, and the home was engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived. Multiple tankers were called to the scene to provide water to firefighters battling the blaze.

“Once we got established, water wasn’t a problem,” Homan said.

Gregg Township, Millheim, Boalsburg and Miles Township firefighters responded.

Neighbors described the community as tight-knit, and some had already offered help to the family. One suggested the family’s animals could stay on his land.

“We all look out for each other,” said neighbor Marlin Fultz Jr., who called 911 after seeing the flames.

The couple and their children plan on staying with family Wednesday, Jackson said.

Nate and Sarah Haupt declined to comment.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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