Penns Valley

Crews faced frigid cold, terrain challenges in fighting Potter Township fire

Multiple Centre County fire companies responded Wednesday evening to a fully-involved, second-alarm building fire at 147 Mountain Spring Lane in Potter Township.

Crews were dispatched at 6:52 p.m. Upon arrival, the Centre Hall chief confirmed a working structure fire, and called for more tankers. Dispatch also reported fire spreading to nearby trees, but crews managed to get that under control.

The house, near Seven Mountains Wine Cellars, is a total loss, Centre Hall Assistant Fire Chief Brian Tice said, but the family and their pet dog are safe. The family, which includes two children, left the house around 5 p.m. and was not present when the fire started.

The dog, however, got loose after the fire started and was missing for nearly half an hour.

Neighbors said they heard a loud pop while watching television, and when they looked outside at the house next door, it was engulfed in flames.

With below-zero temperatures, crews had some issues with water freezing up at the fill site. Tice said that the hilly terrain created obstacles for crews trying to get water hoses up to the house, which sits atop an incline.

Mountain Spring Lane, off Decker Valley Road, was closed down for almost two hours as crews fought the fire. Over the course of the night, neighbors brought coffee to firefighters, offered their houses for first responders to warm up in and helped look for the missing dog.

There was still more work to be done after the fire, as firefighters spent hours at the station cleaning the equipment and trying to warm up, Centre Hall Fire Company posted on Facebook the next morning. The company’s Auxiliary provided hot food and drinks during and after the fire, and the Centre Hall Brothers Pizza donated pizza to help keep energy levels up.

Donations for the family are being accepted at Seven Mountains Wine Cellars at 324 Decker Valley Road. Donations of any kind can be dropped off at the winery, or arranged by contacting tracy@sevenmountainswinecellars.com.

Boalsburg, Pleasant Gap, Millheim, Alpha, Miles Township and Gregg Township fire companies were also called to the scene. Mifflin County’s Milroy and Reedsville companies also responded. Miles Township and Undine were on standby.

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